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Lebanon News

Berri says holds onto own hybrid electoral proposal

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a session at the Parliament in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011. (Mahmoud Kheir/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri said in remarks published Wednesday he would hold onto his bloc’s hybrid electoral proposal that divides Parliament into lawmakers voted through proportional representation and a winner-takes-all system.

“I am holding onto the hybrid law formula that allows the election of 64 lawmakers based on a proportional system with the other 64 voted in on the basis of a winner-takes-all-system,” Berri, who spoke to AS-Safir newspaper, said.

A parliamentary subcommittee, of both March 8 and March 14 lawmakers, is discussing different formulas of the hybrid law that joins both proportional representation and winner-takes-all systems.

MP Ali Bazzi, from Berri's Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc, has suggested an equal distribution of seats between the two systems, while Future MP Ahmad Fatfat, which put forward its hybrid formula Tuesday, said his party’s version would see 70 percent of Parliament’s seats filled via a winner-takes-all system, with the rest through proportional representation.

MP Akram Shehayeb, from the Progressive Socialist Party, has put forward a similar formula to that of the Future Movement. However, the two parties differ in terms of the distribution of districts.

The nine-member parliamentary subcommittee is set to resume meetings later Tuesday to carry on its discussions over the hybrid law.

In his comments to As-Safir, Berri warned that if the subcommittee failed to agree on his party’s proposal within its mandated period, the only alternative would be to return to the Orthodox Gathering proposal.

“If the subcommittee fails to agree on the [equal sharing] proposal, we will have to go back to the Orthodox proposal that gained the support of the majority of political powers,” said Berri.

The Orthodox Gathering law, which projects Lebanon as a single district where each sect elects its members of parliament under a proportional representation system, has gained a rare consensus among Christian political parties.

The proposal has the supported of Hezbollah in what it claims is a bid to please its Christian allies.

However the Orthodox Gathering law has met opposition from the president, prime minister, Future Movement, PSP and independent Christian MPs.

Lebanon’s parliamentary elections are due to be held in early June.

 

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