BEIRUT: Future Movement MP Ahmad Fatfat described Saturday as “harmful” the Orthodox Gathering electoral draft law that rival Christian political leaders had initially endorsed but recently appear to have scrapped.
“The Orthodox proposal harms the country,” said Fatfat, following a meeting with Maronite Cardinal Beshara Rai said at Bkirki.
Rai headed Friday night a surprise meeting of rival Christian political leaders who called for the adoption of a law that provides fair representation for all sects, in an apparent retreat to the controversial Orthodox electoral proposal.
The Orthodox Gathering law projects Lebanon as a single electoral district where individual sects vote for their own lawmakers under a system of proportional representation.
The meeting at Bkirki, only days after representatives from the major Christian parties agreed to endorse the Orthodox Gathering, was attended by Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel and Marada Movement chief Suleiman Franjieh.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Gegea was absent from the meeting due to what LF sources said were security reasons.
Kataeb leader Amin Gemayel said in a statement issued Saturday that he contacted Geagea and informed him about the outcome of the Bkirki meeting.
According to the statement, both leaders agreed on the outcome of the discussions.
The statement also said coordination between the LF and the Kataeb is continuous through both direct contact between the two parties and the work of the parliamentary subcommittee.
Rai has indicated that Bkirki is not fully behind the Orthodox Gathering proposal.
“Bkirki does not support an Orthodox or Maronite [electoral] proposal; it supports only a Lebanese proposal,” Rai said remarks to a local newspaper Friday.
In comments Saturday to Free Lebanon Radio station, Fatfat hailed the Bkirki meeting, saying the “summit was good in that [the gathering took note] that a portion of Christians reject the Orthodox Gathering law.”
He said that despite differences of opinion in the opposition over the elections law, the alliance was in constant contact among its members and was keen on preserving the joint principles they agree on.
In remarks published Saturday, Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel said that in the absence of any alternatives, his party would continue to back the Orthodox Gathering law.
On Friday, after four days of futile deliberations, a parliamentary subcommittee discussing electoral draft laws, including the Orthodox Gathering law, approved the minutes of its meetings and is set to resume talks Monday.
Fatfat told Free Lebanon Radio station Saturday he believed Hezbollah, which leads the March 8 alliance, was willing to accept the Orthodox proposal because it is based on proportional representation.
“Hezbollah is willing to accept the Orthodox proposal because such a law would allow it to win the elections and the party is using [FPM leader Michel] Aoun to impose proportional representation,” said Fatfat.
On Friday, following discussions among MPs on the electoral draft laws, Hezbollah MP Ali Fayyad said his party supported a draft law that was endorsed by Cabinet that sees Lebanon divided into 13 electoral districts under a proportional representational system.
Fatfat warned Saturday the adoption of the Orthodox proposal would spark clashes in the country.
“If this law passes, it will mean Hezbollah is seeking another May 7,” said Fatfat, referring to the deadly clashes in Beirut of that year.
“If such a law is adopted, I will not run in the elections,” he added.
Meanwhile, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Qabbani called Saturday for an electoral law that fulfils the aspirations of the Lebanese people and secures them the best representation in Parliament.
The mufti’s comments came after he contacted the vice president of the Higher Islamic Shiite Council Sheikh Abdel Amir Qabalan and Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Naim Hasan for talks on the elections’ law, according to a statement from Dar al-Fatwa.
Separately, Hezbollah MP Nawwaf Musawi reiterated his party’s rejection to the 1960 law adopted in the 2009 parliamentary elections, calling for a new electoral law that preserves national unity and secures fair representations for all Lebanese.
“Hezbollah is going to the elections based on a fair law that preserves national unity and secures the right representation for all Lebanese social and political components,” said Musawi.
“We will not accept sticking to the present electoral law which the other side [March 14] described as unfair even before we did,” he said.
The lawmaker voiced Hezbollah’s support toward all efforts to secure consensus over a fair electoral law and stressed the need for cooperation between all parties “to save Lebanon at such a critical phase at the regional level.”