Lebanon News

Jumblatt: Senate needed to address national issues

In this Friday, Jan. 21, 2011 file photo, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt speaks during a press conference in his house in Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt has called for the establishment of a Lebanese Senate as stipulated by the country’s Taif Accord.

“Let’s free the Parliament from sectarian representation as the Taif Accord stipulates and establish a Senate in which all Lebanese groups get represented,” said Jumblatt in his weekly stance published by PSP-affiliated Al-Anbaa website Monday.

The Taif Accord, which brokered an end to Lebanon’s 1975-90 Civil War, equally divided Parliament between Christian and Muslim lawmakers.

The Taif Accord, Lebanon’s amended constitution, calls for the establishment of a Senate that incorporates representatives of each sect and that the distribution of seats in Parliament by sect be abolished.

According to Jumblatt, a Senate would have the authority to address the major national issues in the country and serve to ease the concerns of Lebanese parties.

The PSP leader called for overcoming sectarianism in Lebanon and seeking an electoral law that enhances more unity.

“It is time for the Lebanese to have an electoral law that enhances common ground among them rather than seeking proposals that increase sectarian divisions and take them back to past centuries,” said Jumblatt.

“The Lebanese are capable of overcoming sectarian barriers if the right political and electoral circumstances are available to them,” said Jumblatt.

A proposal put forward by the Maronite church and which advocates each sect should elect its own representatives has recently gained the support of the four major Christian rival parties in the country.

The Orthodox Gathering proposal, which projects Lebanon as a single district where each sect votes for its members in Parliament under a system of proportional representation, has been divisive in the country.

A number of independent Christian figures, President Michel Sleiman, Jumblatt, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement have all opposed the law.





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