Charbel Says All Preparations Complete for 2013 Polls: We’re Incapable of Controlling All Bordersإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel lamented the fact that the political powers do not seem keen on adopting proportional representation for the parliamentary electoral law, he told the daily An Nahar in remarks published on Sunday.
He said: “I am still holding on to proportional representation … All preparations however to hold the 2013 elections are complete.”
“We have wasted three months in debating proportional representation when we could have used this time to devise another law,” he noted.
The March 14-led opposition and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat have voiced their opposition to proportional representation, while the March 8 camp has advocated it.
Jumblat has stated that the law is aimed at limiting his political weight.
Charbel said: “It is now up to the politicians to reach an agreement over the electoral law because it greatly impacts the preparations.”
He explained that each electoral law, whether one that adopts proportional representation or one which is based on the 1960 law, requires its own respective preparations and measures, especially if expatriates will be able to cast their votes in the elections.
The government recently approved a mechanism that would enable expatriates to vote in next year’s elections.
Charbel continued: “I need at least six months to complete the technical, logistic, security, and administrative preparations ahead of the elections.”
Asked if the elections will be staged in one day, he replied: “Yes, unless the security situation prevents us from doing so.”
On the security situation in Lebanon given the escalatory political rhetoric between the rival camps, Charbel said that the “balance between them” has prevented any security unrest.
“They all know that they will all be losers should any instability occur,” he continued.
“We are still however suffering from the effects of 30 years of war. No one respects and abides by the law as everyone believes himself to be above the law,” he stated.
“I want to assure the Lebanese that the security forces are in control of the security situation, but politicians should conduct themselves properly in order to avoid having their disputes turn into violence,” he warned.
Addressing the investigations into the failed assassination attempt against Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, Charbel said that the case is now in the hands of the judiciary.
He revealed that the telecom data in the case has been obtained, blaming the ministerial committee for the delay because it only convenes once a week and Lebanon had just emerged from a period of official holidays.
The cabinet agreed in February on forming a judicial commission that would receive the records of some 3.4 million subscribers and decide whether to hand them over to the security agencies or not.
It also formed a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Najib Miqati and comprising the ministers of justice, interior, defense, and telecommunications, tasking it with following up the issue.
On April 4, Geagea escaped a sniper attack while taking a stroll on the grounds of his Maarab residence.
The March 14-led opposition held Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui and those who support him responsible for preventing the security forces and authorities from obtaining the telecom data in their probe into assassination attempts.
Commenting on arms smuggling in Lebanon, Charbel responded: “Of course arms are entering Lebanon because we are incapable of completely controlling the entire border.”
“The army is performing its duties. It completely controls some border crossings, but some illegal crossings remain unsupervised,” he explained.
The interior minister said that the army lacks the necessary modern equipment to properly perform this task.
Arms smuggling across the border has been on the rise since the eruption of anti-regime protests in neighboring Syria in March 2011.
Security forces have arrested several individuals on charges of smuggling weapons to Syria.