President Michel Aoun said on Monday that no one will be able to strain the relations between Christians and Druze in Lebanon, stressing the importance of unity in the Mount Lebanon.
“No one will be able to strain the ties between Christians and Druze and the irregularities that took place were a historic mistake that will not be repeated,” Aoun said at the Baabda Palace during a meeting with a delegation of Druze clerics.
“We are asked to build the country together, starting from Mount Lebanon,” Aoun told the clerics.
In 2000, Mount Lebanon witnessed a historic reconciliation between the Druze and Christians that turned the page on the bloody chapters of the 1975-1990 civil war.
Aoun’s comment come after the debate on the electoral law that has sparked renewed political tensions between the Christian political parties and Druze leader MP Walid Jumblatt.
Jumblatt reiterated last January his opposition to an electoral law based on proportional representation under a sectarian system, stressing that this will create imbalanced representation which could lead to instability.
Jumblatt stressed that the electoral law “must ensure a delicate balance in political and regional representation,” calling on President Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, Premier Saad Hariri and the various political forces to “understand the demands of the Democratic Gathering ( Jumblatt’s parliamentary bloc) that are in line with the Taef Accord.”
Jumblatt believes that a law fully based on proportional representation would marginalize the minority Druze community, whose presence is concentrated in the Chouf and Aley districts of Mount Lebanon.
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 take all . 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 and the next elections are scheduled for May 2017.
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