FPM proposes new hybrid electoral system

The system combines between proportional representation in Lebanon's five traditional governorates and majority voting in 14 electoral constituencies where voters may only cast ballots for candidates of the same religion.

13 March 2017 | 13:30

Source: Annahar

  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 13 March 2017 | 13:30

Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil discussing his campaign on providing citizenship to Lebanese abroad during a news conference at the Foreign Ministry in Beirut, Wednesday August 24, 2016. (Annahar Photo)

BEIRUT: The Free Patriotic Movement proposed Monday the adoption of a hybrid parliamentary electoral system that combines between proportional representation in Lebanon's five traditional governorates and majority voting in 14 electoral constituencies where voters may only cast ballots for candidates of the same religion.

FPM President and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil told a news conference that the proposed electoral law guarantees fair representation for all factions and paves the way for the establishment of a senate as stipulated in the Taif Accord.

The Taif Accord, which ended Lebanon's 15-year old civil war, calls for the formation of a senate after the abolition of the quota reserved for each sect in parliament.

While each sect will be allotted a quota in the senate, the accord is vague when it comes to the prerogatives of the new legislative body or the religion of its head.

Bassil suggested the senate should be headed by a Christian, arguing that it guarantees parity between Christians and Muslims in the country's top posts.

According to Lebanon's unwritten national pact, the president must be a Maronite while the parliament speaker must be a Shiite and the prime minister a Sunni.

The failure to reach an agreement over a new electoral law threatens to plunge Lebanon into a power vacuum after President Michel Aoun said he would use his prerogatives to block elections under the current law.

The current law, which originally dates back to 1960, was amended and adopted in 2008 as part of a comprehensive deal struck in Doha. The Doha Accord ended an 18-month political feud that had exploded on May 7, 2008 into deadly sectarian fighting, between Shiite Hezbollah gunmen and Sunni pro-Future Movement supporters, threatening to plunge Lebanon into all-out chaos.

The government has already adjourned parliamentary elections twice, citing security concerns linked to the conflict in neighboring Syria. In 2013, lawmakers voted to extend parliament's term by 17 months and then voted again in 2014 to extend their tenure an additional two years and seven months.

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