Audeh, Rai call for a law that preserves coexistence


Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai and Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Beirut Elias Audeh called for an electoral law that preserves coexistence among the Lebanese.

Rai was quoted by al-Liwaa daily as saying: “Bkirki is neither with an Orthodox proposal nor with a Maronite proposal”adding :”The Maronite church only supports a Lebanese proposal.”

Audeh was quoted by al-Liwaa daily as saying he “wouldn’t back any electoral law that doesn’t preserve coexistence among the Lebanese.”

Al-Mustaqbal daily also quoted sources close to Audeh as saying that the” Orthodox sect does not accept the proposal because it will deepen divisions among the confessions.”

Even the Greek Orthodox lawmakers are not endorsing the so called Orthodox Gathering proposed electoral law..

Lebanon Deputy Speaker Farid Makari , who is Greek Orthodox told An-Nahar newspaper in remarks published on Wednesday that he disagrees with Speaker Nabih Berri’s announcement in which he pledged prior approval of the decision on the electoral law by the Christian leaders and their representatives who meet in Bkirki last Sunday.

“With all due respect they are not all the Christians and Berri and everyone knows that the majority of the Christians are independent and do not have anything to do with the four parties that met in Bkirki. ” Makari said

Makari criticized the draft electoral law of the so called “orthodox” gathering stressing that he rejects it as the deputy speaker and as a member of the parliament because such a law will tear apart the social fabric among the Lebanese in addition to being unconstitutional and illegal.

The subcommittee tasked with deciding on an electoral law acceptable to the majority of the Lebanese will resume its meetings on Monday with representatives from the rival March 8 and 14 camps .

Lebanon’s Cabinet approved last August a new electoral draft law that called for proportional representation and divided the country into 13 districts as follows: Beirut 2, south Lebanon 2, Bekaa 3, north Lebanon 3 , Mount Lebanon 3.

The new electoral law was approved by the majority of ministers, including the FPM ministers . However the ministers that representProgressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt’s bloc voted against it.

Even though the FPM ministers voted for the cabinet ‘s electoral law draft, FPM MPs Alain Aoun and Neemtallah Abi Nasr submitted another draft electoral law to the parliament . This is the so called “Greek Orthodox gathering proposal” which calls on each sect in Lebanon to vote only for its candidate in the elections based on one electoral district for the whole country .

March 14 Christian MPs Georges Adwan, Boutros Harb and Sami Gemayel submitted a draft electoral law based on 50 districts and winner take all majority to the Parliament’s General Secretariat last October

Jumblatt and his PSP MPs still favor the current 1960 winner take all electoral law.

Lebanon is set to hold new parliamentary elections around June 2013, but the country’s political circles are divided over the electoral law issue .

A Christian four-party panel on the electoral law agreed on Sunday to endorse the electoral law proposed by the so-called Orthodox Gathering, under which each sect would elect its own lawmakers, and all Lebanon will be one electoral district

The panel took its decision during a meeting held in Bkirki. The four-party panel comprises representatives from the Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces, the Phalange Party and the Marada Movement.

The Orthodox law was alos criticized by President Michel Suleiman, Premier Najib Miqati, National Struggle Front leader Walid Jumblat and several other Christian MPs and officials.

Meeting at Bkirki

Maronite Patriarch Rai called for an urgent meeting on Friday at Bkirki for the leaders of the largest four Christian parties to discuss the electoral law . Currently Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjie and Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel are meeting in Bkirki.

All reporters and media representatives were prevented from entering the patriarchal in Bkirki during the meeting of the Christian leaders.