Naharnet

Report: Hizbullah Adheres to Proportionality during Meeting with Aoun

On the eve of a cabinet meeting devoted to discuss Lebanon's problematic voting system, a Hizbullah delegation held talks on Sunday with President Michel Aoun at the Presidential Palace in the presence of Foreign Minister and Free Patriotic Movement leader Jebran Bassil, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday.

Talks have focused on the positions of both parties as for a new electoral law that should govern Lebanon's parliamentary elections, said the daily.

The meeting came after negotiations between Hizbullah and Bassil reached a dead end as a result of each party's adherence to his own project, it added.

The Hizbullah delegation was comprised of Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem, head of the Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Mohammed Raad, Hizbullah secretary-general's political aide Hussein Khalil Head of Hizbullah's Liaison and Coordination Committee Wafiq Safa.

Although Baabda sources refused to comment on the discussions, sources close to the interlocutors told the daily: “Ideas about an electoral law were exchanged during the meeting. Hizbullah has put forward its proposal that mainly focused on the adoption of a full proportional representation system and a single or several large electorates.”

The sources described the discussions as “serious and profound” where Hizbullah listened to the options suggested by the FPM.

“Things are not ripe yet, but it has been agreed to keep meetings open in an effort to unify the efforts until a consensual format is reached,” they added.

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.

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has recently proposed an electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the controversial law proposed by the Orthodox Gathering.

Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on the proportional representation system and a single or several large electorates.

Druze leader Walid Jumblat has rejected proportional representation, warning that it would "marginalize" his minority Druze community, whose presence is concentrated in the Aley and Chouf areas.

Amid reservations over proportional representation by other parties such as al-Mustaqbal Movement and the Lebanese Forces, the political parties are mulling a so-called hybrid electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system.

Source: Naharnet


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