BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Future submits proposal on hybrid law

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 submitted Tuesday its proposal over a hybrid law being discussed by the parliamentary subcommittee, MP Ahmad Fatfat said Tuesday.

“I submitted my proposal to the subcommittee and we are discussing it,” Fatfat told reporters following Tuesday’s first round of discussions over the electoral law.

The parliamentary subcommittee discussing a hybrid law that joins both the proportional representation system and a winner-takes-all-system resumed meetings Tuesday morning and will convene again in the afternoon to carry on its task.

Fatfat told The Daily Star that the proposal, which assigns 70 percent of the seats to be elected on a majority system and 30 percent on proportional representation, seemed to be gaining the support of its allies, the Kataeb party and the Lebanese Forces.

“They seemed to like it,” he said.

According to Future’s proposal, the winner-takes-all-system will be based on 37 districts, while the proportional representation will be based on 6 large districts.

Prior to attending the session, Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel said that he will submit his own proposal over the hybrid law.

“I will wait for MP Ahmad Fatfat before submitting my proposal,” he said.

However, Fatfat said he does not know if Gemayel will still submit a new proposal later during the day.

Fatfat said that his bloc was trying its best to prevent the postponement of the elections and insisted the parliamentary polls should be held on time.

“We were totally against proportional representation, and now we are making concessions because we do not want the elections to be postponed,” he said.

For his part, Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan seemed upbeat about the discussions of the subcommittee and voiced optimism over reaching a middle ground between all parties.

“We can now say all parties agreed on the hybrid law and this is a major step forward,” said Adwan, who spoke earlier about a “surprise” during the subcommittee’s talks.

“I told you before we had a surprise coming, we were following up the Future’s proposal over the hybrid law,” he said.

The nine-member subcommittee chairman, Robert Ghanem, said that the lawmakers are now dealing with three proposals.

“We have the original proposal by MP Ali Bazzi and the proposals of MPs Akram Sheyayeb and Ahmad Fatfat,” said Ghanem, who informed lawmakers a day earlier that Tuesday will be the last day for suggesting new proposals over the hybrid law.

Bazzi, of Speaker Berri’s parliamentary Liberation and Development bloc, suggested an equal distribution of seats between a proportional representation system and a winner-takes-all system.

Shehayeb, from the Progressive Socialist Party, proposed 70 percent of the seats be based on a majority system.

Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel, also a subcommittee member, suggested 60 percent of the seats should be based on proportional representation and 40 percent on a majority system.

Subcommittee members, from the March 8 and March 14 parties, have only until Friday to agree on a voting system before Berri refers the issue of an electoral law to the joint parliamentary committees.

Prior to joining the session, Hezbollah MP Ali Fayyad voiced willingness to discuss all proposals.

“They promised us new formulas, we are open to discuss all suggestions,” he said.

For his part, Shehayeb said all parties should “humble” themselves and make concessions to reach a final consensus over an electoral law.

 

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