BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman reiterated Friday night his call on Lebanese expatriates to refrain from voting in the event MPs adopted the controversial Orthodox Gathering electoral proposal, which he described as a sectarian voting system.
“I hope in the event a sectarian law is [passed], expatriates will never vote or choose to vote for MPs not on the basis of their sect and that will be my demand if Parliament is forced to sign a sectarian law; [in a bid] to move expats away from sectarianism,” Sleiman said at the Lebanese Embassy in Ivory Coast.
Sleiman, who is on an official visit to African states, has been rallying against the adoption of the Orthodox Gathering proposal which has won the support of the majority of Christian parties as well as Hezbollah and the Amal Movement. The draft has been endorsed at the parliamentary committee level.
The president, prime minister along with the Future Movement and MP Walid Jumblatt argue that the proposal, if approved, would deepen sectarian divisions in the country.
“Beware of a return to a pre-1960 law and the adoption of a sectarian law. Such a law does not suit Lebanon nor is it similar to the Taif Accord,” Sleiman said.
Rival groups reject the return to the amended version of the so-called “1960 law” – which was used in the 2009 parliamentary elections – but have failed to reach consensus on an alternative system for the polls that are due on June 9.
Sleiman also reiterated that Lebanon needed to benefit from Hezbollah’s capabilities until the military is fully equipped to protect the country.
“We should secure appropriate arms for the Army and draft a defense strategy to benefit from the capabilities of the resistance until the Army is ready to defend the unity of the land and security,” he said.