Lebanon – Subcommittee Completes Report on Electoral Laws ahead of Joint Parliamentary Committees Meeting

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The electoral subcommittee completed on Tuesday its report on the discussions over the electoral draft laws.

MP Robert Ghanem announced that the report will be referred to the joint parliamentary committees that are scheduled to convene on Wednesday.

“The report will explain the positions of each side over the parliamentary electoral laws,” he told reporters at parliament.

“The fate of the electoral subcommittee meetings lies in the hands of the joint parliamentary committees,” he stressed.

The subcommittee had held 16 meetings over the past few weeks aimed at reaching an agreement between the rival political powers over a new electoral law, but it failed in this mission.

Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan then remarked: “Contrary to the impression created after last week’s meeting, today’s session demonstrated that the participants stand on some common ground.”

Last week’s subcommittee meeting was marred by a dispute between Mustaqbal MP Ahmed Fatfat and Free Patriotic Movement MP Alain Aoun with the former accusing the latter of failing to voice his position over any of the proposals in order to obstruct any agreement other than one on the Orthodox Gathering electoral draft law.

Adwan revealed that he suggested that the meetings of the electoral subcommittee be extended for 15 days in order to “strictly study the hybrid law” that combines the winner-takes-all and proportional representation systems.

“The new subcommittee meetings will attempt to garner more consensus among the political powers over the hybrid law,” he explained.

The MP also highlighted the role Speaker Nabih Berri has been playing in bridging the gap between the disputed political factions.

Fatfat then addressed reporters and speculation over the Mustaqbal bloc’s participation at the joint parliamentary committee meeting, saying: “We will attend the session if government representatives are not present.”

“The decision to boycott government activity had been taken with the agreement of all the March 14 camp factions,” he stressed.

The March 14 coalition announced its boycott of government-related activity in the wake of the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau chief Brigadier General Wissam al-Hasan on October 19.

It accused Syria of being behind the murder and the government of covering up for the criminals.

The Mustaqbal’s March 14 allies, the Phalange Party and the Lebanese Forces, had announced that they will attend Wednesday’s joint parliamentary committee meeting out of their keenness to agree with the rest of factions on an electoral law that would govern the elections that are set for June.

Ghanem later held talks with Berri at Ain el-Tineh.

“We will definitely not reach an agreement over an ideal electoral law that meets the aspirations of the Lebanese people because we no longer have enough time to develop a modern law,” said the MP after the talks.

He stated that the speaker believes that it is better to have a new law, regardless of its flaws, than not being able to hold the elections.

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