Aoun accuses Lebanon President , PM of blackmail


aoun angry defFree Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun attacked Lebanese president Michel Suleiman and PM Nagib Mikati for issuing the election decree which calls on voters to participate in the parliamentary elections in June based on the 1960 electoral law if no consensus is reached on a new law.

“We consider their action a form of blackmail and an attempt to pressure the constitutional council to reject the Orthodox Gathering proposal,” Aoun said

The president and premier made decisions that they are not entitled to make, added Aoun.

Aoun who said is committed to holding the parliamentary elections on time is opposed to staging them according to the amended version of the 1960 law that was adopted during the last elections, held in 2009.

“The call on electoral bodies to the parliamentary elections based on the 1960 law is acceptable,” Aoun added.

Aoun made his remarks after the Change and Reform bloc’s weekly meeting at his residence in Rabieh.

He criticized claims that the Orthodox Gathering electoral law unconstitutional as heresy and “an attempt to usurp the rights of Christians.”

President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Mikati signed a decree on Monday calling on the bodies to the polls based on the 1960 law if no consensus is reached on a new law.

The PM had said in a televised interview Monday that the cabinet did not study the Orthodox law and would not discuss it, adding that “it will not be adopted because it is unconstitutional.”

Suleiman also has said he would challenge the Orthodox plan before the Constitutional Council if it is approved by parliament, while Miqati stressed that the proposal will not pass, revealing that he has “ways to block it.”

In February, Lebanon’s joint parliamentary commissions approved the Orthodox law that calls for proportional representation and voting along sectarian lines. The law is supported by the country’s major Christian parties and top March 8 parties but is rejected by the Future Movement and Progressive Socialist Party as well as Mikati and Suleiman.

Parliament’s joint commissions approved the controversial law after weeks of deliberation at the end of which the country’s competing political forces failed to reach a consensus on a proposal that would replace the 1960

The cabinet approval in September 2012 a draft law based on proportionality and 13 electoral districts, but speaker Nabih Berri pronounced it today as “dead” and “orphan” and said that even PM Mikati is not defending it anymore.

The winner take all 1960 electoral law which calls for 26 electoral districts is favored by MP Walid Jumblatt and the Future Movement whic is headed by former PM Saad Hariri.

Hariri and other March 14 leaders are opposed to proportional representation as long as Hezbollah remains armed.

An Nahar quoted earlier on Monday parliamentary sources as saying that March 19 is the deadline to propose a new electoral draft-law or else other options will be on the table, including the technical postponement of the polls.