Lebanon: Reaction to the new electoral law


Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati was reportedly surprised by Future Movement’s “reaction” to the cabinet’s approval of a draft electoral law based on proportionality.

Mikati told As-Safir newspaper in a report published on thursday.“The reaction is unjustified and cannot be understood because the draft law is not yet implemented. It is a starting point for a democratic discussion in the parliament.”

Mikati also said that some political parties were “hysterical because the current government was the one to approve the draft law.”

“What these parties want is my resignation and for this cabinet to turn into a caretaking one, unable to accomplish anything; this is why they go crazy whenever the cabinet registers an achievement,” he added

He denied that that the electoral law served the Shiite Hezbollah militant group at the expense of Sunni Muslims in Lebanon.

He also said that the ministerial statement stipulates that the electoral law should be based on proportionality, “and I abided by it and did my job.”

Hezbollah denies

Hezbollah MP and Minister of State for Administrative Reform Mohammad Fneish denied in remarks published on Thursday that the draft electoral law as approved by the cabinet on Tuesday served Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah’s popularity is bigger than the draft electoral law,” Fneish told Al-Jumhuriya newspaper.

He also said that an electoral law based on simple majority would favor Hezbollah more than a proportionality-based law.

FPM willing to reconsider

Lebanon’s Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, who is a member of MP Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, said in a report published on Thursday that FPM did not mind “reviewing parts of the draft electoral law,” in a reference to the number of electoral districts stipulated in the draftlaw , Al-Jumhuriya newspaper reported.

“The electoral draft law adopted the idea of small districts,” the report added.

However, Bassil said that his party preferred larger districts over smaller ones.

March 14 rejects the law

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

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”.

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

Phalange Party’s Central Committee Coordinator MP Sami Gemayel, told MTV on Wednesday that he rejects the draft electoral law adopted by the cabinet, stressing that it was tailored to serve the electoral interests of the ruling Hezbollah led March 8 coalition and predicting that “it will be defeated in parliament.”