Parliamentary Committee Limits Agreement on Electoral Law to One Month

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A parliamentary committee tasked with discussing the country's new electoral law kicked off on Monday its first session with an agreement to wrap up the matter within a month.

“If the electoral committee didn't reach an agreement within a month, then Speaker Nabih Berri will propose on the parliament to deliberate on all draft-laws,” MP Robert Ghanem, who is affiliated to the March 14 alliance, told reporters in Ain el-Tineh after the meeting.

The parliamentary committee is headed by Berri and formed of seven members.

“The committee will hold a meeting on Thursday at the parliament,” Ghanem revealed.

He stressed that any new electoral law “should guarantee a better representation of all sides, in particular Christians.”

Free Patriotic Movement lawmaker MP Alain Aoun had delivered at the beginning of the meeting a letter from FPM chief Michel Aoun to Berri.

OTV reported that Aoun demanded Berri to hold a parliamentary session to explain article 24 of the constitution, which is related to the equality of representation.

The article states that lawmakers should be elected based on a non-confessional basis, according to equality, proportional representation among the confessional groups and geographic regions.

In May 2013, the parliament voted to extend its own mandate for 17 months after the rival political parties failed to reach a deal on a new electoral law other than the one based on 50 small-sized districts in a winner-takes-all system.

Earlier this month, lawmakers also deepened the political deadlock in the country after they voted once again to delay elections and announced they would extend their mandate until 2017, which was met by a huge popular dismay.

Most blocs have announced their rejection to the 1960 electoral law that is based on a winner-takes-all system. It was used in the 2009 elections.

But they have made separate proposals, a sign that the parliamentary sessions would witness heavy debate among the lawmakers if the committee fails to reach consensus within a month.



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