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Lebanon: Electoral Law is the New Government’s Big Challenge | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun (C) meets with Prime minister-designate Saad al-Hariri (R) and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon December 18, 2016. Dalati Nohra/Handout via Reuters

Beirut – Contrary to the status quo that prevailed in Lebanon by the end of 2015, the situation today in the Mediterranean country looks significantly more positive, especially following the election of a new Lebanese president in October and the formation of a unity government that has restored life to the different state institutions.

Nonetheless, the new government, led by Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, has a major challenge, represented in the adoption of an electoral law that would gain the approval of the different Lebanese factions.

In this regard, sources told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that there has been an overwhelming agreement over the need to put behind the 1960 electoral law, which was used in the last parliamentary elections in 2009.

Based on the majority system, the electoral law, which was adopted in 1960, divides the country into 24 electoral districts. However, Lebanese politicians are currently studying the adoption of a modern electoral law that provides an appropriate representation of the different Lebanese factions.

While Hezbollah and other political factions are insisting on a law that would be solely based on the proportional system, other parties, including the Future Movement, the Lebanese Forces and the Progressive Socialist Party, back the adoption of a proportional system in some regions and the majority system in others.

Former Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that he was not optimistic about the achievement of a significant progress in this regard, adding that he believed that the different political factions would only develop the 1960 law, by setting a 20 percent quota for women and activate election monitoring bodies.

Also in remarks to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, former Minister Karim Pakradouni said that holding the parliamentary elections within the constitutional deadline would be a great achievement.

He added that he was confident that the Lebanese political parties would agree on a law that would be solely based on the proportional system.