Lebanon News

Future Movement refers electoral proposal to Parliament

MP Ahmad Fatfat attends a meeting of the March 14 alliance in Ashrafieh, Monday, Oct. 15, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: The Future Movement Monday referred to Parliament a draft electoral law based on a recent initiative proposed by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nabih Berri said in remarks published Monday that he would not include the proposal in the parliamentary subcommittee's discussions.

“We presented to Parliament an electoral draft law that addressed the concerns of Christians over fair representation,” Future MP Ahmad Fatfat told reporters during a news conference Monday.

Fatfat said that the proposal would be distributed to members of the subcommittee discussing electoral laws proposals later in the day.

Fatfat said the draft law submitted by his group was based on a winner-takes-all-system that divides Lebanon into 37 electoral districts as had been adopted in the latest 2009 elections.

He said the proposal, which Hariri outlined during a rare interview Thursday night, was amenable to modifications.

“The proposal is open to discussion and amendments,” Fatfat said.

However, Berri said in remarks published Monday that the Future Movement’s political initiative would not be included in the agenda of the parliamentary subcommittee’s discussions.

“Hariri’s initiative will not be proposed for discussion in the parliamentary subcommittee,” Berri, who spoke to As-Safir newspaper, said.

Berri said that the initiative was not listed on the agenda because “the joint committees agreed to task the subcommittee with strictly discussing the hybrid electoral law proposal.”

“I am waiting to officially receive Hariri’s proposal to examine it and then decide whether I will refer it to the regular parliamentary committees or the joint committees,” he said.

Over the past few weeks an electoral subcommittee, which resumed work Monday, has been discussing various electoral proposals to determine what law to govern the upcoming parliamentary elections, which are due in early June.

The subcommittee’s discussions will focus on a hybrid law that relies on both proportional representation and a winner-takes-all-system.

Speaking after the first round of the subcommittee's discussions Monday, MP Robert Ghanem said that lawmakers from different political groups made different proposals over how to distribute the election of MPs based on the hybrid law.

“We listened to various suggestions by lawmakers on how to distribute the votes while combining the winner-takes-all and proportional representation systems,” said Ghanem.

The lawmaker said that Amal Movement MP Ali Bazzi suggested an equal 50/50 distribution between the two systems, while Walid Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party MP Akram Shehayyeb suggested 70 percent of the seats should be based on a majority system with 30 percent based on proportional representation.

“In turn, Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel suggested 60 percent of the elections would be based on a majority system while 40 percent will be based on proportional representation,” added Ghanem.

He added that other lawmakers have asked for more time to submit written proposals on the distribution of elections based on the hybrid law.

Ghanem also said that the subcommittee will convene in the afternoon away from the media and return again on Tuesday morning.

Elaborating on his party’s proposal, Fatfat said a maximum of five candidates would be able to run in a single district.

“No more than five candidates can run in a single district, the largest of which will include an entire qada,” said Fatfat.

According to Fatfat, the Future Movement proposal is a comprehensive means of reforming Lebanon’s political system.

Hariri’s initiative, which the head of the Future Movement revealed Thursday, recommends the establishment of a senate, as outlined in the Taif Accord, comprised of the country’s various religious figures, in a bid to allay Christian concerns over representation.

The former prime minster also called for adopting the provisions of the Taif Accord regarding expanded administrative decentralization and suggested the Constitution include the “Baabda Declaration,” which stipulates that Lebanon should be distanced from all regional conflicts.





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