Bassil Lauds Hizbullah, Hariri on Electoral Law, Calls for 'More Restraints'
Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil on Monday credited Hizbullah and Prime Minister Saad Hariri for the approval of the new electoral law, which the FPM says will improve Christian representation in parliament.
“The credit for the electoral law goes to our permanent ally Hizbullah and to PM Hariri who rejected extension (of parliament's term),” Bassil said at an FPM ceremony.
“Our common stance with the Lebanese Forces contributed a lot to resolving the difficulties that stood in the way of the electoral law, which would not have been possible had it not been for the president's stance,” Bassil added.
But the FPM chief noted that the electoral law “should be enhanced with more restraints in the future, including the qualification threshold, the qualification round and other demands.”
Bassil also warned that “any manipulation in the issue of the magnetic voting cards will push us to withdraw our support for the technical extension (of parliament's term).”
“We must know the answer soon,” Bassil added.
He also noted that “all election experts” know that his “personal interest” lies in confining the so-called preferential vote “to the electoral district and not the administrative district.”
“We are open to all alliances,” Bassil added.
The new electoral law, which is based on proportional representation and 15 electoral districts, was ratified by parliament on Friday after months of political wrangling during which Bassil and the FPM insisted on “improving Christian representation.”
The new law paves the way for the first parliamentary elections in nine years.
The deal comes after a stalemate that has seen the country's parliament extend its term twice since the last elections in 2009.
Under the agreement, the current parliament's term will be extended once again, but this time for just 11 months to prepare for elections under the new rules in May 2018.