Lebanon News

Jumblatt says Orthodox proposal over

Photo by Azakir

BEIRUT: The Orthodox Gathering proposal no longer stands a chance of being adopted for the forthcoming polls, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said in remarks published Thursday.

Meanwhile, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said the international and Arab communities are impressing upon the need for Lebanon’s elections to be held on time.

“The time of the Orthodox Gathering proposal is over due to the stances of President Michel Sleiman and the independent [Christians]in the March 14 coalition who have obstructed this suicidal proposal,” Jumblatt told As-Safir.

The Orthodox proposal, backed by the country’s four major Christian parties, was passed by a vote in the joint parliamentary committees earlier this month, prompting broad criticism from its opponents.

The proposal, however, would still need to win a vote in Parliament to be adopted.

Separately, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri insisted in a phone call with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri Thursday that this year’s parliamentary elections must be held on time, a statement from Hariri’s office said.

“Unlike all organized campaign to cast doubt on the issue, the Future Movement insisted and still insists the parliamentary elections must be held on time,” Hariri said.

Jumblatt also stressed the elections, scheduled for June 9, should be held on time.

“[President Michel] Sleiman and I are determined to establish a committee to monitor the elections, since we are not going to accept the postponement of the elections.”

The Cabinet recently agreed to refer the issue of the formation of the controversial committee to supervise the June 9 elections to the Higher Consultation Committee, which will issue its opinion on the deadline for the creation of the election commission.

While the president insists on creating the committee within the constitutional deadline, ministers from Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and MP Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement fear its formation would lead to the elections being held under the 1960 law, which has been rejected by officials on both sides of the political divide.

The PSP leader, who recently gave his support to a modified version of the Cabinet’s electoral proposal, also said in remarks published by Al-Akhbar daily that the winner-takes-all system should be included in the government’s draft law to reach a hybrid formula for the coming polls.

“We should base discussions on the government proposal and amend it by introducing the majority system to it,” said Jumblatt.

A hybrid electoral law would join both the proportional representation and the winner-takes-all systems.

Also in remarks published Thursday, Geagea said the international and Arab communities have stressed the need for holding timely elections in the country.

“An international and Arab decision has been conveyed to Lebanese officials stressing the necessity of holding the parliamentary elections on time,” Geagea told al-Liwaa daily.

The LF leader added that only technical reasons could compel a postponement but only for a few months.

According to Geagea, discussions over an electoral draft law backed by consensus are focusing on a hybrid formula, particularly the one known as the Fouad Butros draft law.

Geagea said that the draft law calls for the election of 77 deputies on the basis of the winner-takes-all system and 51 deputies based on the proportional representation system.

“In case an understanding over the distribution of districts is achieved, an agreement among political rivals over this formula will be reached within days,” he said.





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