Hariri Meets Aoun, Says 'Open to All Proposed Electoral Laws'

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Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Monday visited President Michel Aoun in Baabda to discuss the general situations in the country and a number of pressing issues, state-run National News Agency reported.

“Hariri put the president in the picture of the contacts and meetings he is making with the relevant ministers in on order to find the necessary solutions to all the issues,” NNA added.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Hariri said there is “a very positive dialogue among the various political parties” regarding the electoral law.

“It is true that we are approaching critical constitutional deadlines, but I'm confident that we will reach a new electoral law that satisfies the Lebanese regarding their representation in parliament,” Hariri added.

Asked whether al-Mustaqbal Movement would accept an electoral law fully based on proportional representation, the premier said: “We are open to all the laws that have been proposed.”

“It is a decision that we have taken in the movement to prove that we don't represent an obstacle in this regard,” Hariri added, noting that “other parties in the country, such as (Druze leader) Walid Beik Jumblat and others, should be relieved by the new law.”

Asked whether Mustaqbal will reject proportional representation to satisfy Jumblat, Hariri said: “Jumblat has spoken positively about the issue and there is no need to attribute to him something that he has not said. He is open to a hybrid law and to any other law.”

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced that Lebanon will have a new electoral law within a month, noting that it will inevitably contain a proportional representation component.

The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the parliament has since extended its own mandate twice.

Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on proportional representation but Mustaqbal and Jumblat had both voiced reservations.

Mustaqbal has argued that Hizbullah's arms would prevent serious competition in the party's strongholds while Jumblat has warned that such an electoral system would “marginalize” the minority Druze community whose presence is concentrated in the Chouf and Aley areas.

The political parties are meanwhile discussing a so-called hybrid electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system.