Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Revival of ‘Electoral Law’ Talks Expected following Hariri’s Return from Riyadh | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Prime Minister Saad Hariri gestures as he walks into the parliament building. REUTERS file photo

Beirut– Lebanon is awaiting the return of Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Riyadh this week to resume discussions over a new parliamentary electoral law, in the wake of a quasi-consensus over “proportionality” as the basis of any new voting system.

In recent comments, Interior Minister Nohad al-Mashnouq said that parliamentary elections would be held before the end of the year, without specifying whether the polls would be based on the 1960 electoral law or a new voting system.

In this regard, well-informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that while a quasi-consensus has been reached over the adoption of a law based on the proportional system, the 1960 electoral law, which is based on the “winner-takes-all” system, remains “strongly present as Plan B” to save the country from a possible parliamentary vacuum.

In separate statements on Sunday, officials from the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the Future Movement (FM) have voiced their support to holding the parliamentary elections based on a proportional law.

FPM MP Salim Salhab said: “The parliamentary elections will be held according to a proportional law… as we reject vacuum, extension and the 1960 law.”

In an interview with a local radio channel, Salhab ruled out any form of foreign interference in the elections, adding that an internal compromise would be reached as soon as possible over an electoral law that provides a fair representation to the different national factions.

Future MP Hadi Hobeish, for his part, said that a proportional law would likely be adopted, noting that elections would take place before the end of the year.

He stressed that all political parties were opposed to the extension of parliament’s term, adding that the elections would be possibly held in October.

The deputy secretary general of “Hezbollah”, Naim Qassem, said on Sunday that a proportional voting system would provide the best representation for the different factions.

In this regard, Qassem called for speeding up the adoption of a proportional law “with some amendments” that would “ease some parties’ political concerns”.