Beirut- Lebanon has practically entered an open political crisis after Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouq signed a decree on Saturday calling on voters to participate in the next parliamentary elections based on the 1960 law, which President Michel Aoun rejects.
The dispute currently witnessed between political parties concerning the new electoral law comes four months before the end of the current Parliament’s term.
Apparently, it looks that an agreement to hold next summer’s parliamentary elections based on a new law seems “intractable,” as each party is still attached to its own version of the law in a way to guarantee its own benefits and protect the size of its parliamentary bloc or to further expand it.
As expected, Mashnouq signed the decree that calls on resident and non-resident members of the electorate to participate in the elections, in respect to Article 66 of the current electoral law that stipulates sending the decree to Cabinet 90 days ahead of the Election Day.
Mashnouq sent the signed decree to President Aoun, who should also sign it if elections are to be held next May 21 based on the 1960 law.
However, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Aoun would not sign the decree. The president totally rejects holding elections based on the current law.
MP Butros Harb told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday: “We have practically entered a crisis in light of Mashnouq’s signing of the decree and the expected rejection of Aoun to sign it.”
Harb said that Aoun should assume his responsibilities in this case because the results of his decision could be dangerous if no agreement is reached on a new electoral law before the term of the current parliament ends.
Amid the open discussions to find an exit for the current crisis, Speaker Nabih Berri and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt called on the creation of a senate in which all sects and confessions would be represented after the abolition of political sectarianism in the parliament’s structure.
Meanwhile, the youth and students’ sector of the Kataeb Party and the National Liberal Party organized a demonstration on Saturday in front of the Beirut municipality, protesting against extending the Parliament’s mandate.
The protestors demanded that a new electoral law is set and adopted in upcoming legislative elections.