Lebanon – Jumblat after Meeting Berri: No Elections before Agreeing on Electoral Law

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Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat said after meeting with Speaker Nabih Berri that “no elections will be held until consensus over an electoral law is reached”.

“Berri assured that no elections will take place if no agreement is reached,” Jumblat said after his talks with the speaker in Ain al-Tineh.

He added: “We must jointly agree on a hybrid formula that ends the contradiction between the 1960’s law and the Orthodox Gathering’s proposal”.

President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati signed on Monday a decree that calls on electoral bodies to hold the parliamentary elections on June 9, drawing criticism from March 8’s figures.

Suleiman and Miqati expressed, however, that their step stems from “their constitutional duty”, despite their opposition to the 1960’s electoral law.

The rival political parties are yet to agree on a draft-law.

The polls are likely to be postponed if the parliament gives the green light to the Orthodox Gathering proposal, which calls for dividing Lebanon into a single district and allows each sect to vote for its own MPs under a proportional representation system.

The draft-law has been rejected by al-Mustaqbal bloc, MP Jumblat, and the March 14 opposition’s Christian independent MPs. It has been also criticized by Suleiman and Miqati.

Meanwhile, Berri’s visitors during his weekly talks with lawmakers said earlier on Wednesday that the speaker “considers the Orthodox proposal the only law that will go through the legislative process, awaiting a consensual suggestion”.

Berri also commented on the formation of an authority to oversee the electoral process, saying it is a condition for holding the elections according to the Doha accord, or else “the 1960’s law will still be inactive”.

 

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