Lebanon News

Future MP asks Berri to reconsider Hariri proposal

Future bloc MP Ahmad Fatfat speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Wednesday, March 27, 2013. (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)

BEIRUT: Future Movement MP Ahmad Fatfat asked Speaker Nabih Berri Thursday to reconsider former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s electoral proposal as a means of resolving the deadlock over a new law for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

“We asked the speaker ... to look again into the original plan that former ... Hariri had proposed which includes the election of a senate immediately after the election of Parliament,” Fatfat said after meeting Berri at the latter’s Ain el-Tineh residence in Beirut.

He added that the proposal would allow for constitutional amendments if need be and for the implementation of administrative decentralization.

“I can say that Speaker Nabih Berri was very responsive and I think he will do something in this regard because that [the proposal] is a way out for all the Lebanese and it will resolve this crisis,” the MP said.

Hariri's proposal, put forward in January, is based on a winner-takes-all system with small districts. It also stipulates the creation of a senate representing each sect elected directly by the newly chosen MPs as stipulated by the Taif Accord. The plan aims at applying administrative decentralization which would address chronic issues in various Lebanese regions.

However, the proposal was shot down by MP Walid Jumblatt, who described it as unsuitable. Hariri’s rivals in the March 8 coalition also rejected the proposal.

MPs have failed on several occasions to reach an agreement over a new electoral law despite broad opposition to the law in effect, often referred to as the “1960 law” which was used in the 2009 polls.

During Thursday’s meeting, Fatfat said he relayed to Berri that the Future Movement’s Christian allies were opposed to a recent proposal that he described as an amended version of the Cabinet’s draft law.

“We discussed with the speaker the electoral law issue, particularly the proposal put forward in the last few days stipulating the redistribution of the 13 districts on proportionality and majority system which was proposed by the Cabinet,” he said.

“We have studied the proposal with our allies and, unfortunately, we have a very big objection, particularly from our independent Christian allies, the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb, on the issue of redistribution and districting. Consequently, the proposal is useless,” Fatfat added.

The MP also said that his party was open to looking into a new hybrid proposal that the major Christian parties might formulate.





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