BEIRUT: Caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel reiterated Tuesday his call for willing candidates to register for the upcoming polls ahead of the deadline, noting that those who had already submitted their applications could win Parliament seats unchallenged.
“If no one challenges the registered candidates at the end of the deadline for submitting candidacies, those already registered could win the elections uncontested,” Charbel told reporters at a news conference in Beirut, adding that only Parliament could modify the timing of the elections.
Charbel said in the event the polls were not held as per scheduled, candidates who had already registered would be entitled to a refund for the money spent on application fees.
“Everyone will get their money back, no one’s rights will be violated if the elections are canceled.”
However, Charbel said candidates who chose to pull out from the race before the withdrawal deadline of April 25 would only get refunded half the registration fee, adding that the whole administrative procedures needed to be studied closely in light of the recent developments in the country.
Disagreement between rival political coalitions over what electoral law to adopt for the upcoming elections has lowered the chances of holding the polls on time.
While most political parties oppose holding the elections based on the existing electoral law that was last adopted in 2008, an agreement has yet to be reached on a formula for a new voting system.
Charbel, who spoke to reporters at the Internal Security Forces headquarters in Ashrafieh, also said that an additional six months would be required to prepare for parliamentary elections if a hybrid electoral law replaces the existing law, commonly referred to as the “1960 law.”
“From the date a [new] law is issued, I would need six months to prepare if the electoral law is hybrid for elections,” he said.
"When a new law is drafted and issued, we could determine how much of delay is required. I have prepared the elections based on the 1960 law,” Charbel added.
Charbel also said that consensus among rival political parties was needed to draft a new electoral law and form a new government.
“When the government announced its resignation, a type of calm prevailed, which is proof that politics is the major [cause of the] crisis in the country.”