Christian parties agreed to consider other laws


bkirki meeting maronite christian leadersMaronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rai hosted a meeting on Thursday in Bkirki for the leaders of the Christian parties to evaluate the current situations regarding the electoral law.

“The [politicians] evaluated the current situation regarding the new electoral law and voiced their willingness to consider any constitutional proposal which provides proper and fair representation,” a Bkirki statement said following the meeting.

The meeting was inititally attended by Phalange party leader Amine Gemayel, Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun, Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh, Lebanese Forces bloc MP Georges Adwan [representing LF leader Samir Geagea], but was later joined by March 14 MP Boutros Harb, Phalange MP Sami Gemayel, Change and Reform bloc MP Alain Aoun, and former Ministers Ziad Baroud and Youssef Saadeh attended the meeting, according to the statement.

Central News Agency reported that Patriarch Rai had called for the meeting “in order for them to agree on a new electoral law.”

CNA added that President Michel Suleiman, who had held talks with Rai at the Baabda Palace earlier on Thursday, had pushed for efforts to be exerted in order to avert the adoption of the Orthodox Gathering law in the elections, which are scheduled to be held in June.

Suleiman urged the need to reach consensus over a new electoral law since he thinks that the Orthodox Gathering proposal “threatens to create sectarian and political division in Lebanon,” CNA added

This Bkirki meeting comes after the parliament’s joint commissions approved the controversial Orthodox law, which calls for proportional voting along sectarian lines. The Orthodox proposal was backed by the majority of Christian parties and opposed by the Future Movement, the Progressive Socialist Party, the National Liberal Party, and numerous independent Christian MPs.