Geagea defends the Orthodox electoral law


geagea -nycLebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea defended on Tuesday his party’s decision to back the Orthodox Gathering draft electoral law and slammed the various factions for criticizing the draft law and for their failure in providing a workable alternative that can enjoy the backing of the majority .

During a press conference on Tuesday Geagea challenged critics of the Orthodox Gathering draft electoral law by saying: “We support any alternative to the Orthodox proposal that enjoys the backing of the majority of political powers.”

The Orthodox Gathering draft law calls for each sect to elect its own lawmakers.

Geagea admitted that there are flaws in the proposed draft but at the same time he invited workable solutions.

“There is no doubt that the Orthodox Gathering electoral draft law has its flaws and all those who pointed them out should also propose solutions to them,” Geagea stressed

“The solution to the deadlock lies in the factions that have not announced their stand over the electoral draft laws to make their own suggestions,” he explained.

Geagea revealed that the opposition Phalange, Mustaqbal, and LF factions attempted but failed to garner the support of majority of lawmakers at parliament in order to approve the electoral draft law proposal based on 50 small-sized districts.

“We tried to find the most suitable draft law and submitted the small-constituency law, but despite our efforts we could only muster 55 [out of 128] votes,” the LF leader added.

The LF chief said that any law needs the backing of 65 MPs in order to be passed at parliament.

Geagea reiterated his party’s rejection of the 1960 electoral law, which is favored by the Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt.

“Jumblatt is suggesting we return to the 1960 law, which is a proposal we absolutely reject,” he said.

He also noted that his allies in the March 14 coalition were working on finding a practical alternative for the Orthodox Gathering proposal.

“The problem is not in our allies, it is somewhere else,” he said in a possible reference to Jumblatt.

All political parties are united in the mission to find a new electoral law besides the 1960 one, Geagea stressed.

“Consultations are ongoing with President Michel Suleiman and all our allies. The discussions should not simply focus on the Orthodox Gathering law, but electoral draft laws in general,” he stated.

Furthermore, he did not rule out the possibility of discussing and amending the government electoral draft law that was approved in August.

The cabinet’s proposal is based on proportional representation and 13 districts.

It was met by the rejection of the March 14-led opposition and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt.

Geagea commended Speaker Nabih Berri’s “efforts aiming to find a consensual electoral law.”

“We are ready to accept any proposal that provides proper representation.” He stressed

The proposal enjoys the support of the Christian four-party committee comprised of the Phalange Party, Free Patriotic Movement, Marada Movement, and Lebanese Forces.

The draft law was criticized by president Suleiman, PM Najib Mikati, Jumblatt, the Mustaqbal Movement, March 14 Independent Christian leaders and several other figures including the Greek Orthodox MPs .

Lebanon is set to elect new parliamentary representatives in June 2013, but the country’s political circles are divided over the type of electoral law that will be used and the number of electoral districts

The new law will replace the current 1960 modified law

Minutes handed over to Berri

The head of the parliamentary sub-committee studying electoral laws handed over the minutes of its meetings to Speaker Nabih Berri on Tuesday, National News Agency reported.

MP Robert Ghanem presented Berri with the minutes after nearly a week of consecutive meetings between lawmakers representing the country’s main political factions – the latest of which took place earlier on Tuesday.