Geagea: Electoral law favors March 8, urges small districts


Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea  said during  a press conference  on Wednesday that the new electoral law  favors the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance .  He called for smaller electoral districts to ensure proper representation during the 2013 parliamentary election.

“The new law favors the March 8 camp to ensure that they are better represented.” He said

He questioned  why the new electoral law divided each of Beirut and   South Lebanon  into two districts when they carry almost the same weight as other districts.

“They did so to grant the March 8 camp an upper hand in the elections,” Geagea stressed

“How can combining the Ashrafiyeh and Bashoura districts ensure fair representation?” Geagea wondered.

He revealed that parliament will discuss adopting smaller districts for the elections, as had been agreed upon by the gatherers at the Bkirki meeting.

He  also criticized the mechanism allowing expatriates to vote, pointing out that the government had placed all the expatriate voters in one district “in a manner that does not allow them to participate fully  in the  national election.”

He also  revealed  that surveys have shown that voters are most likely leaning towards voting for the March 14 camp “in light of the practices of the current ruling powers.”

“The new electoral law was therefore aimed at saving them,” stated Geagea in reference to Hezbollah and its March 8 allies.

“As part of the Bkirki committee, we reached an agreement that small districts offer the best representation, which would divide Lebanon into 61 electoral districts,” he said.

“Small districts offer better representation than the current law,” he noted.

“We will remain committed to the Bkirki committee agreement,” stressed the LF leader.

He said the new electoral law is better than the 1960 law adopted in the 2009 elections but he understood the position of   former PM Saad Hariri .

“I understand former PM Saad Hariri’s position, but we can take the bad they presented and improve on  it,” he said in reference to increasing the number of electoral districts.

He revealed that coordination is ongoing between the LF and Mustaqbal movement and  “any electoral law we propose would be in agreement with our allies.”

he also revealed that the LF, Phalange Party, and Free Patriotic Movement were in agreement over adopting smaller districts.

Lebanese Interior Minister Marwan Charbeltold told As-Safir newspaper in remarks published on Wednesday that the cabinet’s approval of the new new lectoral draft law that he proposed was a “unique accomplishment.”

“What happened is almost a white revolution, and we hope all of its chapters will be completed with the parliament’s approval of the electoral draft law.” He said

On Tuesday Lebanon’s Cabinet approved an electoral draft law that called for proportional representation and divided the country into 13 districts.

Lebanon was divided into the following electoral districts:

Beirut 2, south Lebanon 2, Bekaa 3, north Lebanon 3 , Mount Lebanon 3.

The new electoral law was approved by the majority of ministers. Only ministers who represent PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt’s bloc and State Minister Ali Qanso voted against it

Acting Information Minister Wael Abu Faour, said the ministers of Jumblatt’s bloc ultimately decided not to engage in a debate over the details concerning the districts.

“We must look at the nation as a whole,” Abu Faour told reporters, implying that the PSP put national interests above its own.

Former Lebanese PM and current Future Movement leader MP Saad Hariri rejected the new electoral draft law and said it will not pass in parliament.

March 14 MP Ammar Houry  told Voice of Lebanon on Wednesday : “The   draft electoral law as approved by the cabinet  is the law of sedition….  a preparation for a  civil war…it is   the draft law  of Jalili  and its representative “Hezbollah”.

If Jumblatt’s bloc will vote will against the proposed electoral law , it will not pass in the parliament if all March 14 MPs vote against it according to political observers.