March 14 MPs Call for Activation of Electoral Subcommittee in Absence of Cabinetإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Several opposition lawmakers gave their consent on Monday to the activation of a parliamentary subcommittee to discuss an electoral draft-law on condition that no government representative attends the talks.
Following a meeting held by the opposition's parliamentary committee heads, rapporteurs and members of parliament's bureau at MP Butros Harb's residence for the second time in 12 days, the MPs said they were willing to attend the meeting of the subcommittee to agree on a new electoral draft-law but stuck onto their demand for the nonattendance of government representatives.
The subcommittee was established in October to facilitate discussions among the rival March 8 and March 14 camps on the controversial articles of a bill approved by the cabinet in August - the electoral system and the size of the districts.
The subcommittee, which is headed by Deputy Speaker Farid Makari, includes opposition lawmakers Sami Gemayel, George Adwan, Ahmed Fatfat and Serge Torsarkissian.
Its members from the March 8 majority coalition are MPs Alain Aoun, Ali Bazzi, Ali Fayyad, Hagop Pakradounian in addition to lawmaker Akram Shehayyeb, who belongs to the National Struggle Front of centrist lawmaker Walid Jumblat.
The statement of the opposition MPs that was read by Harb held onto the boycott of Prime Minister Najib Miqati's government and called for the formation of a new cabinet.
Lebanon plunged in a political crisis in October after the March 14 alliance blamed the government for the assassination of Internal Security Forces Intelligence Bureau chief Wissam al-Hasan.
Following al-Hasan's murder in a car bomb blast in Beirut's Ashrafiyeh district, the opposition boycotted all parliamentary activity and called for the formation of a salvation cabinet to oversee the parliamentary polls in 2013.
Media reports said last week that the March 14 MPs of the electoral subcommittee were willing to attend the meeting on condition that it is held at the house of one of the opposition lawmakers.
But their demands reached a dead-end when several March 8 majority alliance leaders rejected it.
While Harb did not mention that specific condition during Monday's press conference, it was the first time that the opposition lawmakers were officially announcing their willingness to attend the meeting of the subcommittee.
He said the conferees decided to continue consultations with Speaker Nabih Berri in that regard, less than a week after a March 14 delegation visited him to discuss the issue.