Members of the Bkirki committee tasked with studying the best representation of Christians in the 2013 parliamentary elections agreed late Friday to prepare a study on three draft-laws proposed to the parliament after wrangling between the March 8 majority and March 14 coalition MPs over the conflicting proposals.
The members of the committee, who met under Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, agreed to study the proposal of the government, another draft-law referred to parliament by March 14 opposition Christian lawmakers, and a plan suggested by Free Patriotic Movement chief Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc that would allow every sect to elect its own MPs under a proportional representation system with Lebanon as a single district.
The government's draft-law calls for dividing Lebanon into 13 medium-sized districts based on proportionality while the opposition's proposal made by MPs George Adwan, Sami Gemayel and Butros Harb supports the formation of 50 small-sized districts in a winner-takes-all system.
Local newspapers quoted sources as saying on Saturday that during the three-hour meeting, the talks focused on the cabinet's draft-law and the March 14 proposal.
“Each side held onto its stance,” they said. “The FPM and al-Marada movement representatives considered that small districts do not guarantee the election of 56 Christian MPs by Christian voters and that proportionality with the division of Lebanon into 15 districts is the best choice.”
“But March 14 representatives explained their own point of view that the proposal of the Christian members of the coalition guarantees the best representation of Christians,” the sources added.
Despite their differences, the conferees backed a statement issued by the council of Maronite Bishops that rejects the current law that is based on a winner-takes-all system and called for speeding up the discussion of the draft-laws proposed to parliament to pave way for the adoption of an electoral law by year's end.
The joint parliamentary committees discussed for the second time on Thursday the draft-law proposed by the government. The rival MPs have yet to agree on it.
Three other draft-laws, including the proposal of the March 14 Christians and the Change and Reform bloc, are on the agenda of the committees' meeting.
During Thursday’s deliberations both March 8 and March 14 lawmakers called for setting a time-frame to agree on an electoral draft-law pending its approval by the parliament by the end of 2013.
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