BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Berri abandons own electoral proposal

Berri has distributed the 49-item agenda to MPs.

BEIRUT: Parliament Speaker said Wednesday that his formula of a hybrid electoral proposal was rejected by the country’s political rivals and thus can no longer be an option for the coming polls.

“My proposal was slammed by both the March 8 and March 14 camps and thus has become unacceptable, even more it has become a point of contention,” Berri told lawmakers during a weekly meeting in his Ain al-Tineh residence.

With Berri's proposal being rejected, Lebanon faces even a greater risk of postponing the elections if no agreement on a consensual vote law is reached.

Berri’s plan calls for 64 lawmakers to be elected based on a winner-takes-all system and another 64 to be elected under a proportional representation system.

According to Berri, with still no options for a consensual electoral proposal, the only choice would be to go back to the Orthodox Gathering proposal or implement Article 22 of the constitution, which stipulates establishing a senate.

According to Article 22, Lebanon’s Parliament is elected on a non-confessional basis, while a Senate is established in which all the religious communities are represented.

The senate’s authority would be limited to major national issues.

Last month, when Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri put forward a four-point-initiative including establishing a Senate, the speaker said Hariri’s proposal related to amending Article 22 of the constitution, will have to wait for March 19, when the first cycle of Parliament begins.

Meanwhile, Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, of the Progressive Socialist Party, said following the meeting with Berri that the speaker would not allow any step that goes against the National Pact in Parliament, in reference to a possible vote on the Orthodox proposal in Parliament.

“The Orthodox proposal contradicts with the National Pact and I don’t think Berri or any other political force would risk carrying on with a law that enhances divisions among the Lebanese,” said Abu Faour.

The Orthodox law was approved earlier this month by the joint parliamentary committees. However, Berri appealed to political rivals to reach a consensus over another law before putting it to vote in Parliament.

The proposal, which projects Lebanon as one district with each sect electing its own representatives based on a proportional representation system, was rejected by the PSP, the Future Movement, the president, the prime minister and independent Christian lawmakers.

 

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