Lebanon News

Jumblatt says willing to show flexibility over vote law

Photo by Azakir

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said his party is ready to show flexibility in order to facilitate consensus over a hybrid electoral law for June’s parliamentary elections.

“With the emergence of positive signs [that rival groups will support] the draft law that combines a winner-takes-all system with proportional representation, we reiterate the readiness of the Progressive Socialist Party to demonstrate the needed flexibility and make further positive steps if they increase the chances of consensus over the new electoral law,” Jumblatt said in his weekly editorial for the Al-Anbaa newspaper.

“The party is ready to resume dialogue with various political factions to achieve this goal and get rid of the draft law of dismembering [Lebanon] called the Orthodox [Gathering] proposal," he said.

"By this, we turn the electoral draft law into an opportunity for bringing the Lebanese together rather than consecrating divisions among them,” Jumblatt added.

After meeting for several months, a parliamentary subcommittee failed to agree on an electoral law, although various political groups voiced their support for a hybrid voting system.

The subcommittee resumed meetings last week in a bid to achieve consensus on a hybrid electoral law.

Turning to the Cabinet formation process, Jumblatt praised the “calm and wise” method Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam was adopting in consultations to form the Cabinet, his insistence not to engage into the fray of spoil-sharing and his call for the rotation of ministries among sects.

“We look forward that all political factions will facilitate the mission of forming the government in order to take the country into a new phase characterized by stability,” he added.

Jumblatt also said it was not accidental that bombings that hit Boston last week, killing three, came days after Syrian President Bashar Assad tackled al-Qaeda in an interview.

Assad said that the West would pay for what he said was its support for Al-Qaeda in Syria.

“The vanguards of this organization grew up under the protection of the Syrian regime that used them in Iraq and under the protection of other regional regimes that used them in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Jumblatt said.

“These explosions are strongly condemned, just like any terrorist explosions targeting innocent civilians during wars and conflicts,” Jumblatt said.

Separately, a statement from the U.K. Embassy said that Jumblatt and British Ambassador to Lebanon Tom Fletcher visited Northern Ireland for two days last week.

Jumblatt met with Northern Ireland’s first minister, cross party members of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly at Stormont, and key figures involved in the Northern Ireland peace process, according to the statement.

“Commenting on his visit MP Jumblatt said: ‘If there are any conclusions reached from my visit to Northern Ireland ... is that it afforded me the opportunity to learn the details of this historical issue through a series of meetings with the President of the House of Representatives and the First Minister, deputies and personalities from both sides,” the statement said.

“The conflict, which lasted for five centuries and turned into a bloody conflict after the independence of Ireland South in 1920 was treated through the four main core principles: dialogue, respect, trust and patience,” Jumblatt said.

“Is it possible to reach a stage in Lebanon where these four principles dominate our political and media discourse instead of the continuous fall in a spiral of mistrust and counter-accusations of treason, defamation and counter slander?” he asked.

The PSP leader said that although the nature of conflict in Lebanon was different than that of Ireland, the solution reached in Ireland was proof that political and historical settlements, although sometimes difficult and painful, were not impossible.





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