Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Saturday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
March 8 at the Bkirki committee: Electoral law based on 50 districts is a scam against Christians
Proposals for the electoral law are competing with one another at the level of the Bkirki committee.
The final selection has been postponed to a second meeting after reviewing the optimal formula to secure the proper representation for Christians without affecting those from other sects, with Bkirki voicing absolute rejection of the 1960 law while Hezbollah considered small-sized district to be worse than the former.
Amid this, a prominent development surfaced at the level of the elections law, with the absolute rejection by bishops of the 1960 law as it “does not secure the proper representation.”
Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai headed a meeting Friday made up of Christian deputies to study the elections law that included MPs Butros Hard, George Adwan, Alain Aoun, Sami Gemayel and former Minister Ziyad Baroud and Youssef Saadeh.
March 8 sources told Al-Akhbar that Rai first spoke about wanting Christian sides to reach a consensus on a single elections law that secures the best representation for Christians.
“After that, discussions began wherein the March 14 coalition clung to the proposal of 50 electoral districts, which they said would provide the greatest number of Christian deputies winning seats through Christian votes. The Mach 8 coalition on the other hand clung to the need to adopt the Orthodox gathering proposal and then proportional representation on the basis of 15 electoral districts, which they said would result in the highest number of Christian MPs by votes from Christians.”
Marada and Free Patriotic Movement representatives stressed that their parties would request amendments to the Cabinet’s draft electoral law in Parliament in order to raise the number of electoral districts from 13 to 15.
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No debate seems to be making as much noise as that of the elections law that appears to be in limbo amid the proposals and suggestions to secure Christian agreement which does not appear to be forthcoming in the near future given the “vetoes” against one or other proposal.
Bishops at Bkirki announced their rejection to the return of the 1960 elections law.
This comes after the head of the National Struggle Front, MP Walid Jumblatt, voiced his desire for the 1960 elections law to be adopted and not proportional representation as per the proposal endorsed by the Cabinet nor to the a law based on small-sized electoral districts as proposed by the March 14 coalition.
Al-Mustaqbal has learned that the Bkirki meeting, which lasted up until 11 p.m., saw extensive discussion over the proposals and that the meeting ended with the March 8 coalition agreeing to look into small-sized districts in the proposal to Parliament by the March 14 alliance after intervention by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai. Rai urged that a proposal based on small-sized districts should be studied but conditioned this to proportional representation and not the 1960 elections law.