Negotiations over electoral system make headway

The adoption of a parliamentary electoral system based on proportional representation in 15 districts is the focus of the latest round of negotiations among Lebanon’s rival political parties

8 May 2017 | 12:00

Source: Annahar

  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 8 May 2017 | 12:00

In this May 31, 2013, file photo, Lebanese lawmakers meet in the Lebanese Parliament during a session to debate whether to extend their term 17 months, in Beirut, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT: The adoption of a parliamentary electoral system based on proportional representation in 15 districts is the focus of the latest round of negotiations among Lebanon’s rival political parties, a source familiar with the talks told Annahar.

The source said Prime Minister Saad Hariri is set to convene on Tuesday the ministerial committee tasked with finding common ground on a new election law in an attempt to finalize discussions over the new proposal. The proposal is based on a draft law referred to Parliament in 2011 by the Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

If an agreement is reached over the new proposal, the Cabinet would convene Thursday to refer an amended draft law to Parliament for ratification, the source said.

The failure, however, to reach an agreement before the end of May, when Parliament would no longer be able meet without the approval of the president and the prime minister, raises concerns of renewed tensions between the country rival political parties.

Speaker Nabih Berri had called for a general assembly meeting on May 15 to renew the legislature’s term for a third consecutive time. However, the legislative session is expected to fall short of the quorum after Hariri reportedly informed Berri that the Future Movement parliamentary bloc will boycott the meeting in solidarity with President Michel Aoun who staunchly opposes the extension of Parliament’s mandate, which expires on June 20.

Aoun insists that the extension of Parliament’s term should be coupled with the ratification of a new parliamentary electoral system and should be limited to only a few months to prepare for polls based on a new law.

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