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Lebanon News

Rai pushing for agreement on electoral proposal: Harb

MP Butros Harb speaks during a press conference in Hazmieh, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: MP Butros Harb said over the weekend that Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai was pushing for agreement of the Bkirki Committee on an elections law with small electoral districts for the upcoming 2013 elections, the Lebanese Forces said in a statement.

“[I hope] there will be agreement on the small electoral districts proposal in Bkirki, particularly given that Patriarch Beshara Rai is pushing in this direction and we hope there is a joint formula and we are open to suggestions even though we consider small districts will secure optimal representation,” Harb said, according to the LF statement.

Harb’s comments came following a meeting with LF chief Samir Geagea at Maarab.

Following the meeting, the MP said he and Geagea shared the same views on the elections law.

“Our views with Geagea match and we have a joint plan and we will intensify contacts to reach the adoption of a law with small electoral districts numbering 50 that leads to representation for all Lebanese and which would also provide Christians an effective role,” Harb said.

On Friday, Geagea said his rival MP Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement would have to choose between the government’s draft law and the March 14 proposal for small districts.

Last Month, the Cabinet endorsed a draft law based on proportional representation with Lebanon divided into 13 electoral districts. Lawmakers from Parliament’s joint committees began debating Thursday the lines of the government’s draft law.

Last week, Christian March 14 lawmakers put forward to Parliament’s General Secretariat a proposal for small electoral districts.

The draft law, presented by Kataeb Party MP Sami Gemayel, Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan and Harb, would divide Lebanon into 50 small districts, each having two or three seats under a winner-takes-all system.

On Friday, Lebanon’s Maronite Church called for a new election law that ensures a true and fair Christian representation in next year’s parliamentary polls, while rejecting the current law that is based on a winner-takes-all system.

In 2009, Lebanon adopted the 1960 law, which is a qada-based, winner-takes-all system.

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt has voiced support to the 1960 law and has outright rejected a proportional representation system in the upcoming elections.

 

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