Berri, Hizbullah, Hariri Reportedly Oppose Moving Maronite Seats from Muslim-Majority Districts

MP George Adwan's electoral proposal involves moving three Maronite seats from Muslim-majority districts but sources close to Speaker Nabih Berri have said that the speaker, Hizbullah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri have strongly objected against the suggestion.

“This is unacceptable because it would deprive a segment of Christian voters in Tripoli, West Bekaa and Baalbek-Hermel from being represented in parliament,” sources close to Berri told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat in remarks published Sunday.

The newspaper said the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces believe that moving a Maronite seat from Tripoli to Batroun, another from West Bekaa to Jbeil and another from Baalbek-Hermel to Bsharri would raise Christians' ability to elect MPs with their own votes to 50 out of 64 seats.

But the sources that are close to Berri wondered “if it is also required to move the Maronite voters in those districts to the areas to where the seats would be moved.”

“These districts enjoy a special status in terms of the need to consolidate Muslim-Christian coexistence in them despite the fact that Muslim are the majority there,” the sources added.

Al-Hayat said there is speculation that the FPM and the LF might settle for moving the Tripoli and West Bekaa seats and leaving the Baalbek-Hermel seat unchanged.

Sources close to Adwan meanwhile reassured that “the issue of moving parliamentary seats will not lead to a problem, seeing as the foundations have been finalized and the law provides an acceptable share for everyone and relieves all parties.”

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