Hariri Shows Openness to Electoral Law Devised by Miqati's Government
Prime Minister Saad Hariri has shown “openness” to discussing an electoral law fully based on proportional representation that had been devised by Najib Miqati's government, a media report said on Thursday.
“President (Michel) Aoun, backed by Hizbullah and AMAL Movement, is insisting on an electoral law fully based on proportional representation, but in the worst situation he would accept the proportional representation system that was proposed by Najib Miqati's government -- which is based on 13 electoral districts -- after introducing some amendments,” al-Akhbar newspaper quoted informed political sources as saying.
“Hariri's choices are narrowing: he either accepts proportional representation under the Miqati law or else the president would carry out his threats that lead to vacuum and an open crisis,” the sources added.
Citing Hariri's “concessions” in the presidential elections and the formation of the government, and the “latest change” in Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq's stance after the contacts between Aoun and the premier, the sources said that Hariri “will likely bow to the president's vision in order to prevent a total loss of the current political formula” in the country.
Moreover, “high-ranking political sources have revealed that the latest dialogue session between Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal Movement in Ain el-Tineh had witnessed a major shift in Mustaqbal's stance on proportional representation,” al-Akhbar said.
“For the first time ever, the director of the premier's office, Nader Hariri, expressed his willingness to discuss the proposal of Miqati's government,” the daily added.
“Nader Hariri asked why the Minieh-Dinniyeh district was joined with Akkar not Tripoli, why the city of Sidon was joined with the Shiite-majority districts of Tyre, al-Zahrani and Jezzine, and why Western Bekaa was separated from Zahle,” the sources said.
While Mustaqbal had previously rejected that the electoral law be fully based on proportional representation, arguing that Hizbullah's arms would prevent serious competition in the party's strongholds, Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat has totally rejected proportional representation, even within a hybrid law, warning that it would “marginalize” the minority Druze community.
Hizbullah, Mustaqbal, AMAL, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces are meanwhile discussing several formats of a so-called hybrid electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system.
The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the legislature has instead twice extended its own mandate.
The last polls were held under an amended version of the 1960 electoral law and the next vote is scheduled for May.