Lebanon forms 10-member parliamentary panel to draft new electoral law

lebanons Electoral Map
lebanon’s Electoral Map

A parliamentary committee was formed on  Wednesday to draft  a new electoral law, as part of the political settlement that had led to holding a legislative session on Thursday and Friday after around a one-year interruption.

“The panel is comprised of 10 members and it can convene with the presence of only six members,” Deputy Speaker Farid Makari announced after a meeting for the parliament bureau.

“Should it agree on a law, it will be submitted to parliament for a vote,” he added.

Makari noted however that the committee “has nothing to do with the previous laws.”

“It will seek an agreement on the characteristics of the new law … It will not study the 17 draft laws” that have so far been submitted to parliament, Makari pointed out.

He added: “There is an inclination in the country to draft a law that mixes the proportional representation and winner-takes-all systems, and this has been agreed on.”

Makari reminded that “the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces had agreed to attend the legislative session on the condition that the electoral law would be discussed in the next sessions.”

Speaker Nabih Berri told An Nahar newspaper in remarks published Wednesday that he wants the committee to be truly representative of the parliamentary blocs in order to avoid complaints from the parties over being left out of the process.

Ministerial sources told the daily that forming the panel will meet a Christian demand and help revitalize the work of cabinet.

Ongoing disputes among the rival political parties over the electoral law forced parliament to extend its term the first time in 2013 and a second time in 2014.

Previous media reports had said that the committee would have two months to reach an agreement over the electoral draft law.