Arslan Advocates Proportionality Instead of 'Law of Strife' to Build Strong State

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Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan urged Lebanese officials on Friday to adopt proportional representation, saying the 1960 electoral law based on a winner-takes-all system leads to strife.

“The 1960 law is a law of strife. It keeps the Lebanese people under hegemony,” Arslan said at a press conference he held at his residence in Khalde.

He urged all religious and civilian authorities to review their choice in the law and discuss the adoption of proportionality, saying the 1960 law, which adopts the qada as an electoral district and is based on a winner-takes-all-system, leads to “security, political, economic and social impasse.”

The law was used in the 2009 elections, and will likely remain until the 2013 polls are held in June over the failure of the parliament to adopt a new draft-law.

The government approved in August a bill that divides Lebanon into 13 electoral districts based on proportional representation but it was rejected by March 14 opposition blocs and by the centrist bloc of National Struggle Front leader MP Walid Jumblat.

Parliament also failed to discuss the bill and other electoral draft-laws after Lebanon plunged in a political crisis following the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau chief Wissam al-Hasan.

March 14 boycotted all parliamentary activity and refused to participate in the national dialogue called for by President Michel Suleiman after it blamed the government for the killing.

Describing proportionality as “advanced” and a “catalyst for political life,” Arslan called for a parliamentary session to discuss the adoption of a modern electoral draft-law that would lead to a strong state.

“It is about time to feel responsible towards the nation,” he said. “Those who reject proportionality have a single aim to prevent all Lebanese from participating in political life.”

Lamenting that the dispute on an electoral law has become a “charade,” the Druze leader said only proportionality guarantees the best representation which in turn leads to political stability.

He also said that only a democracy based on public freedoms and civil rights guarantees the nation's salvation.

Proportionality brings about civil peace which is the bridge to the state of law that preserves the rights of the people and attracts investors, Arslan added.

Comments 14
Missing allouchi 07 December 2012, 15:39

ft, Arslan is part of M8 but your personal attacks shows your retarded mentality...

Thumb bigsami 07 December 2012, 16:11

I second that allouchi but keep in mind you are dealing with a mentality inferior Farsi. Reword it in Persian and it may get through :-)

Thumb lebfrcan 08 December 2012, 01:02

FT thumbs up this time.

Allouchi and Bigsami, thumbs down this time.
You can not blame FT in this post for being open minded about not liking one of M8, even in his derisory comment.

Thumb LebDino 07 December 2012, 16:29

I'm confused. Am I the only one?

"Which is better" is a relative term. Can someone neutral explain the variations between these laws etc... You don't change electoral laws every 5 years to please those that complain about.

Missing peace 07 December 2012, 22:45

proportionality has the advantage of being more democratic as all parties can be represented, it gives a better representation of the different opinions. but the drawback is that it doesn t give a clear majority for the winner which will have to ally with other parties to have a decisive majority. so it can lead to a political crisis if the winner fails to have allies or if the allies don t want to back it.

the majority system gives a decisive majority to the winner to rule without the help of anyone. they don t have to ally as they have the big majority so there are less political crisis as they are the only deciders and it gives a stable majority. but the drawback is that not all the opinions can be represented so it is less democratic.

the choice between both systems depends then on politics and the kind of politics the country wants to have. that is why they are always fighting in lebanon to try to get the system that suits them best at the time of the election!

Thumb lebfrcan 08 December 2012, 00:48

Peace, my opinion is that your comments are true in a secular state.
The last parliament was elected with the majority law and was not able to rule, yes because of the PSP, but in lebanon with the mosaic society that we have you can not rule without the others.
Even now M8 has the "majority" and M14 are paralysing the parliament.
Nobody in Lebanon can rule alone, regardless of the law.

Thumb lebfrcan 08 December 2012, 00:55

Each party is proposing the size of the electoral district + majority (or proportional)for their party's benefit without any regards to democracy.

I think the best would be small electoral districts of 1 MP each and of course 1 MP means majority. But that is a dream today because we are faaaar from being a secular state.

Missing peace 08 December 2012, 00:59

"The last parliament was elected with the majority law and was not able to rule,"

yes because they didn t want the other side to! if they abided by the rules they would have waited for the next elections...

i wonder what the elections are for in lebanon anyhow as when a gvt doesn t suit the opposition they block it by all means.....

Thumb lebfrcan 08 December 2012, 01:09

Well peace, this is lebanon today.
My comments are based on today's REALITY.
The alternative is Civil war.

Thumb LebDino 08 December 2012, 08:03

Thanks for the explanation, but I don't agree with this "but the drawback is that not all the opinions can be represented so it is less democratic." Why is it less democratic if a majority runs the government? Trick is to have a functioning parliament where the opposition exercises its role, and not via press conferences & public drama.

Missing peace 07 December 2012, 22:47


Missing chouf5 08 December 2012, 00:46

Karim _m1 do you use drugs at all .

Default-user-icon Wild West (Guest) 08 December 2012, 04:05


Do you ever comment in here without using Wahhabi, or Qaeda in your sentence ???
Just curious !!!

Thumb LebDino 08 December 2012, 04:29

Pls stop saying Wahhabi every minute. Some support from SA doesn't mean Wahhabism in Lebanon. The Iranian influence is far far far far worse.