Qassem Adheres to Proportional Law, Says Suggested Law Versions Must be Complete to Decide on

Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem reiterated adherence to the proportional representation system in a single electoral district, noting that in order for the party to decide on any other electoral format it must see the full version, al-Akhbar daily reported on Thursday.

“Proportionality in a single electoral district is the rightful and fair law that provides proper representation and reflects the popularity of the parties at the national, partisan, sectarian and family levels,” said Qassem in an interview to the daily.

Asked about Hizbullah’s position as for the so-called qualification system suggested by their ally Free Patriotic Movement and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.

He said: “Before we decide our final position on any law, we must first know its final version that is agreed on by various parties. The answers today are only partial and we have not seen its final version.

“We have agreed on some ideas in the qualification law format, but what is the final version? This is not yet settled because there are many observations that may change the law and turn it upside down,” he added.

“We have clearly stated that we reject extension, vacuum and the 1960 law. We support a new law, but it is clear and certain that when we face the need to choose between these options, this time we will not accept vacuum,” remarked Qassem.

He pointed out that efforts to agree on a new law before May 15 continue, “We are waiting for the positions of political parties to resolve the debate over the accepted law,” he said, adding “we have hope, and hope must be there to complete this opportunity.”

The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the legislature has instead twice extended its own mandate. The last polls were held under an amended version of the 1960 electoral law.

Early in April, President Michel Aoun invoked his constitutional powers and suspended the parliament which was scheduled to meet to extend it own mandate again.

Several law formats were suggested to replace Lebanon’s current 1960 majoritarian law, but none so far have garnered the agreement of all parties.

Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on the proportional representation system and a single or several large electorates.

Bassil has lately suggested the ‘qualification law’ where in the first round voting takes place in the current 26 districts and voters are not allowed to vote for candidates from other sects. Two candidates for each sectarian seat qualify for the second round during which voting would take place in 10 newly-defined electoral districts and according to a non-sectarian proportional representation polling system.

Bassil’s law was dubbed as sectarian.

SourceNaharnet

Lebanon

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