Change and Reform Defends Aoun's Stances, Reveals Presence of 'Advanced' Electoral Law Proposal

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The Change and Reform parliamentary bloc on Thursday defended the latest stances of President Michel Aoun regarding Hizbullah's arms, while revealing that it is “awaiting answers” on an “advanced” electoral law proposal.

“President Michel Aoun's stances are very clear and do not need any extensive interpretation and will not lead to any violation or repercussions on Lebanon's international commitments and obligations,” said the bloc in a statement issued after its weekly meeting and recited by Justice Minister Salim Jreissati.

“The presidential tenure's firm slogan is general stability and the president has voiced remarks in this regard, and these remarks do not contradict with the international treaties and obligations,” the bloc added.

“The president of the republic understands the requirements of his presidential oath of office,” Change and Reform stressed.

Several parties have criticized Aoun's remarks on Hizbullah's controversial arsenal of weapons, warning that they contradict with Lebanon's international commitments, especially towards U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.

“As long as there is Israeli-occupied land and as long as the army is not strong enough to fight Israel, we sense that there is a need for the presence of the resistance's arms so that they complete the army's weapons,” Aoun had told Egypt's CBC television in an interview on Saturday.

Turning to the issue of the electoral law, the bloc stressed that the 1960 electoral law “is no longer valid because it contradicts with the Taef Accord.”

It also revealed that “there is an advanced proposal -- contrary to the current pessimism -- which mixes the winner-takes-all and proportional representation electoral systems according to unified standards.”

“We are awaiting viable answers to this proposal,” Change and Reform added.

While al-Mustaqbal Movement has rejected that the electoral law be fully based on proportional representation, arguing that Hizbullah's arms would prevent serious competition in the party's strongholds, Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat has totally rejected proportional representation, even within a hybrid law, warning that it would “marginalize” the minority Druze community.

Hizbullah, Mustaqbal, AMAL Movement, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces are meanwhile discussing several formats of a so-called hybrid law.

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 and the next vote is scheduled for May.

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