Jumblat Slams Adoption of Orthodox Proposal, Describes Joint Committees Session 'Sad Day'إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat lashed out at the adoption of so-called Orthodox Gathering electoral draft-law by the joint parliamentary committees on Tuesday, describing it as a “sad” day.
The “proposal takes us back to isolation and divides the Lebanese entity,” Jumblat said in comments to An Nahar newspaper on Wednesday.
The Druze leader slammed the joint parliamentary committees decision, saying: We should adopt “a law that abolishes sectarianism and elect a sectarian senate house... what happened rebuts equality and the Taif accord.”
On Wednesday, sharp divisions prevailed at the committees session after lawmakers from several blocs withdrew from the meeting in protest at the adoption of the Orthodox proposal.
Discussions on article 2 of the proposal, which calls for dividing Lebanon into a single district and allows each sect to vote for its own lawmakers under a proportional representation system, prompted al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc, the independent Christian opposition lawmakers and Jumblat's National Struggle Front to withdraw.
Jumblat stressed that the proposal “leads the country into division and the unknown.”
He hailed President Michel Suleiman's rejection of the draft-law.
On his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Jumblat rejected reports that described it as a “failure.”
“It was a perfect visit of frankness, where I exchanged opinions with several Saudi officials,” he added.
Jumblat returned to Beirut on Sunday night after talks with several senior Saudi officials including Intelligence Chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan and Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Second Deputy Premier.
Ties between the Druze leader and Saudi Arabia deteriorated after ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government was toppled by Hizbullah and its allies in 2011.
Jumblat, who is a centrist, played a major role in deciding the fate of the majority alliance that makes up the current Hizbullah-led cabinet.
The March 8 majority led by Hizbullah, backed by some of Jumblat’s 12-member National Struggle Front parliamentary bloc, brought PM Najib Miqati to the premiership after Hariri’s national unity cabinet was toppled.
Later in the day, Jumblat's press office issued a statement slamming the posters that were erected on Tuesday mocking Saudi King Abdullah.
“The posters are neglecting the huge support that Saudi Arabia and all the Gulf countries offered to Lebanon,” Jumblat said.
He criticized the “irresponsible behavior” of some officials in Lebanon as “not acceptable anymore.”
On Tuesday, posters mocking Saudi King Abdullah were erected in the areas of Jal el-Dib and Fanar in a move considered as a response to a caricature published in a Saudi newspaper on Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi.
The posters portrayed the Saudi King as the king of spades holding in his hand a sword stained with blood.
Last week, Saudi al-Watan newspaper apologized for a caricature it published of al-Rahi in light of his visit to Syria on February 9 and 10.
Al-Rahi's caricature had replaced his mitre with a rocket and highlighted the common letters between the patriarch and Syrian President Bashar Assad's names in Arabic.
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri had condemned the caricature, saying that the kingdom respects the patriarch and values his efforts to fortify Lebanese national unity.
Al-Rahi had visited Syria to attend the enthronement of Greek Orthodox leader Youhanna X Yazigi at the Church of the Holy Cross in Qassaa.