Berri Says Discussions with al-Mustaqbal on Electoral Law Need 'Follow up'

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Speaker Nabih Berri said Saturday that a meeting he has held with al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc leader Fouad Saniora needs “follow up” after they did not reach consensus on an electoral draft-law.

The meeting was “honest and transparent, and needs follow up,” Berri told An Nahar newspaper.

Saniora visited Berri in Ain el-Tineh at the head of a delegation that included MP Nuhad al-Mashnouq and former Minister Mohammed Shatah, an aide for ex-Premier Saad Hariri, who heads al-Mustaqbal movement

The talks which lasted more than two hours and were followed by lunch at the speaker's residence, were “very good and focused on proposed electoral draft-laws,” al-Mustaqbal delegation's sources told An Nahar.

The two sides “deeply tackled the fears of Christian (parties) but no agreement was reached between them,” they said.

“Neither Berri accepted the proposal of the delegation to adopt a winner-takes-all system and neither al-Mustaqbal delegation agreed to his proposal of (adopting) proportionality,” the sources said.

But Berri and Saniora “put the foundations for common viewpoints,” they added.

Christians parties from the rival March 8 majority and March 14 opposition alliances have announced their support for the so-called Orthodox Gathering proposal that envisages Lebanon a single district and allows each sect to vote for its MPs in a proportional representation system.

But discussions among rival MPs as part of a parliamentary subcommittee led to a proposal to combine the two systems. The lawmakers have until Monday to hold consultations and come back with results to agree on an electoral draft-law only months before the polls.

The Orthodox proposal has been rejected by al-Mustaqbal along with other parties for allegedly increasing the sectarian divide among the Lebanese.

Although each side held onto its own stance on the electoral draft-law, the meeting was an “ice breaker,” the sources of the conferees told al-Liwaa newspaper.

“It reopened the door of dialogue between them,” they said.

Comments 3
Default-user-icon MUSTAPHA O. GHALAYINI (Guest) 19 January 2013, 13:16

both living like royals...everything has a beginning and an end.

Thumb positivneutral 19 January 2013, 16:53

Is it me, or do I get the impression that neither of them is in a hurry, despite the elections coming up this year, nor do they care!

Missing bigjohn 19 January 2013, 19:02

You either have one person one vote or do not hold any elections because it is a sham. In the past, it was generally a divide between the Muslim majority and the Christian (mainly Maronite) minority. Today, the divide is between the M8 majority and the M14 minority, and all sects are divided between these 2 groups which is not sectarian (except for Shiites who voted 92% for M8)