Aoun won’t sign a decree for parliamentary polls without a deal on a new electoral law


aoun 2017Change and Reform bloc secretary MP Ibrahim Kanaan has revealed that President Michel Aoun will not sign a decree that for new parliamentary elections that are supposed to be held on May 21 before an agreement is reached over a new electoral law.

“Aoun has already announced that he will not sign the decree before an agreement is reached over a new electoral law,” Kanaan told al-Mustaqbal newspaper in remarks published Sunday.

“We have to agree on a new electoral law. The parliament’s term expires in June and it can modify the deadlines before this date,” Kanaan added.

Both Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri must sign the decree , but so far the decree has not reached Aoun’s or Hariri’s desks

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq reportedly had already initialed a decree on Saturday, three days before the February 21 deadline stipulated by the current electoral law, which is an amended version of the 1960 law, but no details were made available on the decree that he signed.

Aoun’s ally , the Iranian backed Hezbollah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on proportional representation but other political parties, especially the Future Movement, have rejected the proposal and argued that the party’s controversial arsenal of arms would prevent serious competition in regions where the Iran-backed party has clout.In 2013 Lebanese Forces and The Future Movement backed by the PSP agreed on a hybrid electoral law which calls for 54% of the MPs to be elected under the majoritarian winner-takes-all system and 46 % under the proportional representation system. This draft law was rejected by the Hezbollah-led March 8 opposition.

Also in 2013 Future Movement leader PM Saad Hariri rejected the electoral law that is based on proportional representation because there will be competition in some regions, but there cannot be any competition in other regions, because of the presence of Hezbollah weapons in them.

Hariri was referring to the 2009 election in the areas dominated by Hezbollah. According to the reports that surfaced back then Hezbollah gunmen prevented their rivals from voting and the results of the election showed it. On the other hand in the March 14 dominated areas several Hezbollah backed candidates won the election that was based on winner takes all system . In a proportional representation system Hezbollah will be able to gain more seats in the March 14 dominated areas but will not lose any seats in its dominated areas as long as it is allowed to keep its arms and use them internally for political gain .

According to analysts Hezbollah is trying to use Aoun to dominate Lebanon by insisting on adopting the proportional law in a single or several expanded electoral districts.

The country has not voted for a parliament since 2009, with the legislature instead twice extending its own mandate.

The 2009 polls were held under an amended version of the 1960 electoral law