Berri Optimistic on Electoral Subcommittee Meeting, Rejects Butros Committee Proposal

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Speaker Nabih Berri expressed optimism on Friday over the upcoming meeting of the parliamentary electoral subcommittee, saying that he rejects the adoption of an electoral draft law proposed by the Butros Committee.

Berri, in comments published in al-Joumhouria newspaper, hoped that the subcommittee meeting, which is tasked with discussing the electoral system and the number and size of districts, on Tuesday would constitute a breakthrough to the dispute over the electoral law.

Concerning reports over the possibility of adopting the Butros Committee’s electoral draft law, the speaker told An Nahar daily that “it isn’t being tackled, in particularly, in its final draft.”

The Butros committee, which was headed by former Foreign Minister Fouad Butros in 2005, has combined in its proposal the proportional representation and winner-takes-all systems.

“If we agreed on the Butros Committee proposal, we would have adopted it back then,” Berri told al-Joumhouria newspaper.

MP Rober Ghanem, who will head the subcommittee meetings, later told LBCI that there isn’t any veto by the members on any electoral draft-law.

The AMAL leader said that the March 8 majority will hold another meeting ahead of the subcommittee meeting in order to agree on the broad titles that it wants to discuss with the March 14 opposition.

According to An Nahr newspaper, Berri said that the representatives of AMAL, Hizbullah and Free Patriotic Movement held a meeting recently to discuss the electoral draft law.

After a boycott of dialogue sessions and parliamentary work in the past couple of months, March 14 opposition lawmakers accepted Berri’s proposal of residing in a hotel near the parliament in downtown Beirut, as a safety precaution, to meet with the electoral subcommittee members and discuss the new electoral law.

The opposition had announced following the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau head Brigadier General Wissam al-Hasan on October 19 that they will be boycotting the national dialogue sessions and the government’s work, awaiting Prime Minister Najib Miqati’s resignation.

The government approved in August an electoral bill based on proportional representation and 13 districts, but it was met with the opposition’s rejection, which deemed it as being tailored to the March 8 majority coalition’s interests.

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