Lebanon's political leaders about a near agreement on a new parliamentary electoral law

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A positive mood prevailed on Saturday among Lebanon’s political leaders with reports about a near agreement on a new parliamentary electoral law that could technically postpone the elections date due to factors related to its implementation.

Meanwhile, it is almost definite that this new law would be founded on a format compiling both the proportional and the majority systems.

In an interview with the Central News Agency, head of the Lebanese Forces party Samir Geagea said on Saturday: “We are now close from achieving the awaited dream by endorsing a new electoral law.”

Geagea praised the efforts exerted by his party and other political forces to achieve this dream “even if reached after a 10-year delay during which several attempts to agree on a new electoral law had reached a deadlock.”

The LF leader said that the “new format” presented by the Future Movement and the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) has proved “correct” because the majority of political parties supported it. “I am very happy that we are on the verge of agreeing on a copy of the electoral law,” Geagea added.

For his part, Information Minister Melhem Riachi expressed his optimism that a new electoral law would soon see the light.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Riachi said: “The base for any discussions related to the new electoral law is now the new hybrid format built on the proposal presented by the Lebanese Forces after all parties were convinced that we cannot apply the proportional representation law alone or the majority system alone. Therefore, the hybrid electoral law remains the mid-solution suiting all parties.”

However, Riachi said that the implementation of the law might lead to a technical postponement of the parliamentary elections, planned for next May.

Meanwhile, a PSP delegation continued on Saturday its visits to political parties, rejecting a pure “proportional representation” electoral law and instead calling for a law that combines Aley and Chouf areas in one electoral circumscription based on the majority system format.

PSP spokesperson Rami Rayess told Asharq Al-Awsat: “There are several suggestions that we are currently studying. We are still waiting for the final version of the electoral law to study it before announcing our positions.”

Sources close to the issue told the Central News Agency that the “countdown for issuing the new electoral law has kicked off.”

The sources said all parties are now convinced there is no escape from holding the elections based on a new law, particularly in light of President Michel Aoun’s insistence in this regard.

Concerning the division of geographical circumscriptions based on a hybrid format, the sources said: “Technical discussions started in this regard but were still unsettled. The parliamentary elections could be held based on a proportional system at the level of the five usual governorates, or be expanded to involve 7 or 9 new circumscriptions.”

This Article has been cross-posted from:http://english.aawsat.com/2017/01/article55366504/lebanon-verge-one-electoral-law-compiling-proportional-majority-systems