Miqati Optimistic on Ability of Political Foes to Reach New Electoral Law

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Prime Minister Najib Miqati expressed on Monday optimism over the upcoming meeting of the parliamentary electoral subcommittee on January 8 to discuss the electoral draft-law.

“I am convinced and believe that we will be able to reach consensus over the new electoral law,” Miqati said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper.

He pointed out that the recent contact among the rival political parties stressed on the importance of achieving a breakthrough to the political crisis and end the “vicious cycle.”

After a boycott of dialogue sessions and parliamentary work in the past couple of months, March 14 lawmakers have accepted Speaker Nabih Berri’s proposal of residing in a hotel near the parliament in downtown Beirut, as a safety precaution, to hold the meeting of parliamentary subcommittee and discuss the 2013 electoral law.

The opposition alliance had announced following the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau head Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan on October 19 that they will be boycotting the national dialogue sessions and government-related parliamentary activity, awaiting Miqati’s resignation.

But it later said it will participate in the meetings of the parliamentary subcommittee.

Miqati stated to An Nahar that all the proposed electoral draft laws will be discussed by the subcommittee not only the draft law suggested by his cabinet.

However, he expressed enthusiasm to the adoption of a modified draft of a law proposed by the Butros Committee in 2005 which was headed by former Foreign Minister Fouad Butros.

The Butros Committee electoral draft law suggests electing 71 parliamentary seats based on proportional representation while the remaining 57 seats would be elected based on a winner-takes-all system, where each province would be adopted as an electoral district.

The committee proposed additional electoral improvements such as the formation of an independent committee to administer elections and the use of pre-printed ballots.

Asked about the fate of his cabinet after the parliamentary elections, he noted that “the government will eventually resign when the elections are carried out.”

The government’s draft law calls for dividing Lebanon into 13 medium-sized districts based on proportionality, another plan suggested by FPM chief Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc allows every sect to elect its own MPs under a proportional representation system with Lebanon as a single district.

While the March 14-led opposition’s proposal supports the formation of 50 small-sized districts in a winner-takes-all system.

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