Report: Berri Believes Accord on Vote Law 'Likely' Before Deadline


Although deadlines are looming to agree on a new electoral law for Lebanon's parliamentary polls, Speaker Nabih Berri ruled out the possibility of failure to reach a voting system before June 21 when the term of the parliament ends, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Thursday.

A source following up closely on the election debate said “Berri is waiting for other ideas to come up, and ruled out reaching June 21 without an agreement,” they told the daily on condition of anonymity.

“The Speaker's former proposal to create a senate has no chances because of the complications and difficulties it faced regarding its leadership and the jurisdictions given,” said the source.

“A possibility still stands to agree on a proportional representation system paralleled with electoral districts that take the Christian’s demands into account. The parliament’s term would then be extended until Spring 2018 giving the interior ministry enough time to complete technical and administrative preparations to stage the polls,” added the source.

Failure to reach accord on a vote law would place the country in front of two options: vacuum at the legislative authority or an extension of the parliament's term, the source remarked.

The option of "parliamentary vacuum would keep the Speaker and the Parliament Bureau in office according to Article 55 of the Constitution. In accordance with Article 74, the elections would be held within three months."

"Extension of the parliament's term for three months is the second option, during which the elections would be staged based on the electoral law in force, in this case the 1960 majoritarian law."

Berri had recently proposed the election of a parliament under a proportional representation system in six electoral districts and the creation of a senate that addresses the concerns of the country's sectarian components.

But, he withdrew his proposal on May 15 after it failed to garner consensus.