Lebanon News

Sleiman upbeat over polls, says 1960 law ‘dead’

President Michel Sleiman attends a Cabinet session at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Monday, Dec. 10, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman expressed optimism that parliamentary elections due in early in June would be held on time but warned that a postponement would elevate the dangers to the country’s security.

“I am 95 percent certain that the elections will be held and not according to the 1960 law,” Sleiman told a delegation from the Journalists Union, when asked whether the polls would be take place or whether they would be postponed.

The 1960 law, which the president described as “dead” and would be “buried completely” once a new electoral law is ready, is a qada-based, winner-takes-all system used in the 2009 parliamentary elections. It is opposed by most parties in the country.

Although upbeat on the elections being held, the president warned that a postponement of the elections would increase the threat to the security situation in the country.

“I do not wager on anything. There is the law and the Constitution. The issue of security should not be used as an obstacle to conducting the elections. However, if elections do not take place and there is a postponement then dangers at the security level will increase,” he said.

The president also defended his recent signing of a decree that calls for holding the elections on June 9 based on the 1960 law, which some in the March 8 coalition described as a “black day” in the history of the executive branch.

“Is it logical for someone who carried out his duty is said to have done this on a black day?” he asked, adding that there were obligations that needed to be respected and that could not be abandoned.

When asked about the fate of the 1960 law, Sleiman said: “The 1960 law is dead and we are waiting for it to be buried in Parliament because it will not be possible to annul the current law unless there is a new one.”





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