Hezbollah official warned of disaster in Lebanon if no deal is reached on new electoral law


Nabil Qaouq hezbollahA Hezbollah official warned Sunday of disaster in Lebanon should no new electoral law be approved soon.

Hezbollah’s central council official Sheikh Nabil Qaouq was quoted by local media as saying:

“Lebanon would be approaching a disaster should no new electoral law be approved before the expiry of the legal deadlines, seeing as failure to approve it would drain all the political, social and economic stability in Lebanon.”

The official denied reports that his party is behind the obstructions

Qaouq stressed that Hezbollah “has offered concessions for the sake of allowing consensus over a new electoral law” and that “it is not part of the complications and ongoing bickering over this law.”
He blamed the parties that will be affected by a change in the electoral law for the obstructions

“Those who would be affected from the correction of electoral representation are behind the obstacles ,” Qaouq charged.

“Those who have not taken a responsible and patriotic decision to offer concessions for the sake of rescuing the country are committing a national sin against our homeland Lebanon,” Hezbollah official warned.

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 electoral law.

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 political analysts

According to the same analysts Hezbollah is trying to use its ally President Michel 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.