Lebanon – Jumblat: Some Sides are Mistaken in Believing They Can Eliminate the Other in the Elections

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat renewed on Monday his rejection of the Orthodox Gathering parliamentary electoral law, revealing that the party will present its position on the electoral law discussions.

He said in his weekly editorial in the PSP-affiliated al-Anbaa website: “Some sides are mistaken in believing that they can eliminate the other in the parliamentary elections.”

“The elections are just a phase and we must return to dialogue and the central principles proposed by President Michel Suleiman, starting with the national defense strategy,” he added.

Moreover, the MP suggested that a national unity government be formed after the elections, which are scheduled for June.

The Orthodox Gathering proposal, which calls for each sect to elect its own lawmakers, has created divisions among various political factions in Lebanon.

A Christian four-party committee, comprised of the Phalange Party, Free Patriotic Movement, Lebanese Forces, and Marada Movement, has advocated the law.

Suleiman, Prime Minister Najib Miqati, Jumblat, the Mustaqbal Movement, and independent MPs of the March 14 camp all rejected the proposal.

Jumblat had said earlier in January that the proposal “would lead to extremism and the isolation of sects,” as well as jeopardize coexistence and the Taef accord.

Commenting on Suleiman’s vocal support for civil marriage in Lebanon, Jumblat lauded his “progressive thinking,” hoping that this measure will mark the beginning of the tearing down of sectarian barriers.

“This will help pave the way for the implementation of the Taef Accord and the establishment of a senate in Lebanon as the proper representative for different Lebanese factions,” he added.

“The senate will offer an alternative to the backward thinking that was demonstrated in the so-called Orthodox Gathering proposal or various televised debates that are reminiscent of the black days of the past,” he stated.

“Isn’t it better to bolster diversity and coexistence instead of division?” the MP asked.

He suggested that various parties return to the 1936 constitution devised under the French mandate over Lebanon, “seeing as it offers more progressive ideas that are better than the ones being presented today.”

“If only politicians would halt their heated rhetoric in favor of catering to the people, who have fruitlessly waited for power-generating vessels that appear to be taking a world cruise across the five continents ahead of arriving at Lebanon’s shores,” Jumblat remarked sarcastically.

“Even if the ships do arrive and end the darkness, who will guarantee that they can illuminate the dark minds that issued indirect and questionable threats against the Special Tribunal for Lebanon?” he wondered.

He made his statement in reference to the recent publication of a list of names of witnesses linked to the STL trial that is set for March.

The development sparked an outcry by March 14 officials who accused the publishers of jeopardizing the lives of the witnesses.


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