Lebanon – Gemayel Says Marginalizing Christians No Longer Acceptable, Urges March 14 to Propose Alternatives

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The Phalange Party said on Monday that it is open to discuss any electoral law provided that it does not marginalize Christians’ votes.

“We reject an election held based on the 1960 law,” MP Sami Gemayel said after the weekly meeting of the party’s political bureau.

Gemayel stated: “We will no longer tolerate the marginalization and the misrepresentation of Christians who prefer not to vote in districts with Muslim majority because they know their votes will not make a difference”.

“For the first time in 23 years different parties in Lebanon are communicating and sharing their concerns,” he expressed, adding that the Phalange’s only condition is adopting an electoral law that assures just representation.

The Phalange lawmaker called on the party’s allies to come forward with their own suggestions of an electoral law instead of criticizing the Orthodox Gathering’s draft.

“What brings us together as March 14 is rejecting the illegal possession of arms, our insistence on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and our faith in the constitutional institutions’ role in Lebanon,” Gemayel said, explaining that in what concerns the electoral law, the alliance’s parties have yet to reach an accord.

The Christian four-party committee on the electoral law had agreed to endorse the electoral system proposed by the so-called Orthodox Gathering, under which each sect would elect its own lawmakers.

But the proposal was criticized by President Michel Suleiman, Premier Najib Miqati, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat, al-Mustaqbal Movement, March 14 Independent Christian leaders and several other figures.

“We also urge (Progressive Socialist Party’s leader) MP Walid Jumblat to propose a solution,” Gemayel said, insisting that going back to adopting the 1960’s law is out of the question.

The 1960 law, which adopts the district as an electoral district, was adopted in the 2009 parliamentary elections.

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