Al-Rahi Urges Approval of Electoral Law, Formation of New Govt.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi hoped on Saturday that politicians in Lebanon would assume their “national responsibilities” before the people.

He said: “They should work on approving a new parliamentary electoral law and avoid the 1960s law.”

He also said that a new “free and responsible” government should be formed.

The patriarch made his statements during a celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the establishment of Notre Dame University.

“The new cabinet would help stage the parliamentary elections at its constitutional time,” remarked al-Rahi.

In addition, it would help pave the way for a national reconciliation that is vital to Lebanon, he stressed.

The government approved in August a draft electoral law based on proportional representation and 13 districts.

The March 14-led opposition and PSP leader MP Walid Jumblat rejected the law, saying that it does not offer fair representation, but instead favors the March 8 camp.

The top three parties of the March 8 majority alliance “totally rejected” holding the parliamentary polls next year based on the winner-takes-all system of the 1960 electoral law, As Safir reported on Monday.

The newspaper quoted sources as saying that a meeting was held between the Hizbullah leader's aide, Hussein Khalil, the assistant of Speaker Nabih Berri, Ali Hassan Khalil, Energy Minister Jebran Bassil, who is a member of the Free Patriotic Movement, and AMAL's security official Ahmed al-Baalbaki.

The sources said the conferees “totally rejected” the 1960 law and “expressed openness to discuss amendments to a bill approved by the government”.

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