BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said in remarks published Monday that he maintains no contact with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun regarding a new law to govern the upcoming polls.
“Talks are ongoing in many directions. The Future Movement is taking care of discussions with the Lebanese Forces. I am in touch with Speaker [Nabih] Berri and channels with Hezbollah are open,” Jumblatt said.
“But as for Gen. Michel Aoun, there is no connection between us [PSP] and him,” Jumblatt told As-Safir newspaper.
He said his party’s efforts were devoted on developing a hybrid law acceptable to the Future Movement, Hezbollah and the Amal Movement of Speaker Berri.
“Each party would then market the plan among its allies,” he explained.
Jumblatt said the picture should be clearer within the next two days following intensive talks.
The Free Patriotic Movement has called for the Orthodox Gathering proposal, which has been approved by Parliament’s joint committees, be put to a vote in Parliament’s General Assembly.
The controversial law mandates that each sect elect its own members to Parliament under a system of proportional representation with Lebanon as a single electoral district.
FPM MP Ibrahim Kanaan said Friday he believed Berri would put the controversial law to a vote in Parliament’ General Assembly.
As-Safir also quoted sources close to Prime Minister Najib Mikati as saying that the political groups were near a deal on a law based on a system that includes both winner-takes-all and proportional representation system.
The prime minister reportedly said 54 MPs would be elected based on a winner-takes-all system while 47 under proportional representation.
Mikati reportedly said talks were not focused on the division of some electoral districts.
Meanwhile, Berri said he backs President Michel Sleiman’s positive statements that the there was a good chance that the elections would be held on time.
“I even would increase this percentage to 100 because elections, which are vital, must take place on time,” Berri also told As-Safir.
Sleiman voiced confidence Friday that the elections would be held, saying he was “95 percent” sure they would take place, and not under the 1960 law.
There are concerns in Lebanon that the parliamentary elections, due in early June, may not be held on time given political parties’ failure to reach consensus on a new law.
Berri also expressed belief that an elections supervisory committee would not see the light of day.
“The elections supervisory committee will not pass because it is part of a dead law,” he said.
The Cabinet agreed last month on the issue of the formation of a 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 elections commission.
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel also voiced his belief that ministers in the March 8 coalition would block a vote on the formation of the committee, citing this as further reasons why the elections might not be held on time.