BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said in remarks published Sunday that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s electoral proposal based on a majority system is unsuitable for his party and supporters.
Meanwhile, Maronite Cardinal Beshara Rai and Kataeb party figures discussed with Hariri the Future Movement electoral draft law which the former prime minister said addressed Christian concerns.
Speaking to An-Nahar in an article published Sunday, Jumblatt said he discussed the proposal with Hariri during their meeting in Paris last month but that such a law would not be suitable for the PSP leader.
“I told him [Hariri] that such a proposal does not suit the Progressive Socialist Party and the residents of the mountain or the supporters. And we should think of other, different formulas,” Jumblatt said.
He added that the two of them agreed to reject the Orthodox Gathering draft law because it is seen as a blow to Lebanese consensus, coexistence and the Taif Accord’s principles.
Jumblatt is one of the few figures that have supported the use of the amended 1960 law used in the 2009 parliamentary elections. The law, rejected by most groups, is based on the qadaa system.
According to Hariri’s press office, Rai, MPs Sami and Nadim Gemayel contacted the Future Movement leader Saturday, with talks focusing on “initiative announced by Hariri on Thursday, and everything that fortifies national unity and co-existence between the Lebanese and helps to overcome the challenges that Lebanon is facing on the local and regional levels.”
Hariri’s electoral draft law divides Lebanon into small districts based on a winner-takes-all system and stipulates the establishment of a senate, as outlined in the 1989 Taif Accord, made up of the country’s various religious figures.
The former prime minister, who announced the proposal from Paris in a television interview, said such a law addresses the concerns of both Christians and Muslims, rejecting the controversial proposal drafted by the Orthodox Gathering.
The Orthodox proposal, based on proportionality and stipulating that each sect to vote for their own MPs, has received the support of most Christian parties including Hariri’s allies and Hezbollah.
MP Walid Jumblatt, President Michel Sleiman, and some Christian figures have opposed the law, arguing that it would allow for the rise of extremists and deepens sectarian divides in the country.
Hariri, who rejects proportional representation all together, also said Saturday that his electoral proposal includes fundamental changes in the governing system.
He proposed the implementation of administrative centralization and the addition of the “Baabda Declaration,” agreed to among rival groups to distance Lebanon from regional conflicts, to the country’s constitution.
Kataeb and the Lebanese Forces have backed a proposal of a majority system with 50 small districts but an official stance with regards to Hariri’s initiative has not been announced yet, although the LF, led by Samir Geagea, has rejected the establishment of a senate prior to the elections.
Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement rejected their rival's proposal.