Naharnet

Franjieh Mocks 'Don Quixotic Victory', Says Christians Win if 'Fair' Electoral Law Passed

Marada Movement leader MP Suleiman Franjieh stressed Wednesday that what achieves a “victory” for Christians is the approval of a “fair” electoral law, dismissing the legislative settlement that was reached earlier in the day as a “Don Quixotic triumph.”

“The move that achieves a victory for Christians is the approval of an electoral law, not slogans, and what happened today was a 'Don Quixotic victory',” said Franjieh in an interview on MTV.

Earlier, Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea announced that their parliamentary blocs will take part in Thursday's much-anticipated legislative session after a political "settlement" was reached over the controversial issues.

Aoun described what happened as a “happy day” for the Lebanese as Geagea called it a “victory for everyone.”

Al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri had earlier on Wednesday announced that Mustaqbal will attend the session due to the pressing nature of the financial draft laws, vowing that “after Thursday's session, the movement will not attend any legislative session that will not be aimed at addressing the parliamentary electoral draft-law.”

Franjieh questioned the motives behind Hariri's move.

“Hariri's step is aimed at paralyzing parliament in response to the paralysis of the cabinet,” he told MTV.

He added: “The electoral law battle will be won when we approve an electoral law that is fair for Christians.”

“Christian parties have not agreed on a certain electoral law,” he pointed out.

“The Christians' interest lies in clinging to their rights, not to issues that dismay others,” he said.

Franjieh also stressed that the electoral law should be “Lebanese” and that it cannot be devised by “a single camp or a single sect without the others.”

“The electoral law is a sensitive issue and we should address it around the dialogue table,” he went on to say.

Turning to the relation with Aoun, Franjieh added: “We share General Aoun's view that it is dangerous to elect a president without consensus and this also applies to the issue of the electoral law.”

“If anyone tries to harm Michel Aoun, I will not tolerate that, but I believe that I should not start an unwarranted dispute with Speaker (Nabih) Berri today,” he said.

He also voiced his belief that the latest developments “have not affected the relation between Aoun and Hizbullah.”

Separately, Franjieh noted that he is against “obstructing” the work of parliament and cabinet, emphasizing that “people's vital issues must be addressed.”

Earlier in the day, Aoun said that all disputes over the agenda of Thursday's parliamentary session have been resolved.

“A comprehensive agreement has been reached over them – the nationality law, the municipalities law, the electoral law and other minor issues,” he said.

Tensions had peaked between Christian parties who had threatened to boycott the legislative session and other political blocs who announced that they will attend it, which raised fears over its potential postponement.

Berri had justified his decision to exclude the draft electoral law from the legislative session's agenda, saying that this issue “needs a national agreement that does not exist.”

The Christian blocs of the LF and the FPM had warned that they would not attend the meeting over the failure to include the electoral draft-law on the agenda.

The Kataeb Party has announced that it will not attend the session due to the ongoing presidential vacuum.

The dispute over the electoral law dates back to 2013 when the political parties failed to agree on a new one, resulting in parliament extending its own term and postponing the elections.

Parliament again extended its term last year over the same dispute.

Y.R.


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