Qabbani Warns Parliament Extension Would Lead to Further Security Chaos

Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani urged on Monday Speaker Berri to supervise the adoption of a new electoral law, rejecting attempts to extend parliament's mandate for sowing further divisions.

“There should be a new electoral law that becomes the bridge to change,” Qabbani said in a televised statement.

“The parliament's term shouldn't be extended over only the failure of rival leaders to agree on the division of their seats,” he said.

He warned that if MPs agreed during a parliamentary session set to take place end of the week on the extension, “then the Lebanese would live under the same divisions.”

“It would lead to a further deterioration in the security situation,” he said in his message.

Qabbani stressed the new electoral law should guarantee the best representation of all sects, including the Christians.

“There should be an end to the monopoly that goes against democracy,” he said while rejection the 1960 vote law that is based on the winner-takes-all system.

He also rejected the negotiations between the rival parties “to distribute powers ... before even holding the polls.”

The parties failed following months of negotiations to agree on a new law over what critics said were attempts by each side to put the conditions that bring it to power.

“The interest of the nation doesn't lie in a settlement between politicians on what guarantees their interests,” Qabbani said however.

“The delay in the agreement on a new law deals a blow to the daily life of the Lebanese,” he said.

The differences on the electoral law in addition to different demands on the length of the extension of parliament's four-year mandate have been exacerbated by the failure of Premier-designate Tammam Salam to form his government.

“The PM-designate and the leaders of the different sects should speed up the formation of the cabinet,” Qabbani said.

Turning to the deteriorating security situation in the country, he warned that the chaos in the coastal city of Tripoli is a threat to the citizens in northern Lebanon.

“The state has the essential responsibilities in deterring the gunmen ... security agencies should also work to impose a ceasefire,” he said.

Qabbani also described rocket attacks on Beirut's southern suburbs on Sunday as an attempt to ignite war in Lebanon.

“It is the duty of the Lebanese to remain united …. because it is the biggest deterrent against the Israeli enemy,” he said.

The Mufti also lamented that “the Arab nation, which had embraced everyone, has been shattered.”

He accused some parties of plotting for more divisions in the Arab world to create mini states.

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