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Lebanon: Jumblat Proposes New Hybrid Electoral Law | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanese soldiers secure the area outside the parliament building in downtown Beirut, Lebanon April 12, 2017. (Reuters)

Beirut – Head of Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblat presented on Saturday a new parliamentary electoral law in a bid to end the ongoing crisis over the issue.

The new hybrid law is a combination of the proportional representation and winner-takes-all system.

At a time when the majority of political powers took their time in reviewing the new law, “Hezbollah” renewed its commitment to the proportional representation law.

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil was quick to hail Jumblat’s initiative, saying: “The fact that the PSP has taken the initiative to present a draft-law away from our opinion is a positive step forward.”

The law, revealed in a press conference by MP Ghazi al-Aridi, calls for the election of 64 lawmakers based on the winner-takes-all system and for dividing Lebanon into 26 districts.

The remaining 64 MPs will be elected based on proportional representation and 11 electoral districts.

“This draft law is complete on the national level and does not omit anyone,” Aridi said.

He explained that it caters to the concerns of all political powers, stressing the need to reach an agreement on a new electoral law before May 15.

Speaker Nabih Berri had scheduled a parliamentary session for May 15 during which lawmakers will vote to extend their term for a third time.

Lebanon last held parliamentary elections in 2009. The parliament has since extended its term twice over the political powers’ failure to reach an agreement over a new electoral law.

On the political deadlock, “Hezbollah” MP Ali al-Moqdad said: “As Lebanese, we are required to adopt a new law for the upcoming elections, because the situation can no longer continue without polls.”

The party’s support for proportional representation was echoed by head of the Marada Movement MP Suleiman Franjieh.

“Complete proportionality offer correct representation,” he stressed.

Jumblat’s Druze rival Minister of the Displaced Talal Arslan was quick to reject the MP’s new electoral law, saying that he opposes all hybrid law proposals.

He also backed proportional representation.