Change and Reform Defends Direct Elections Proposal, Says it Helps 'Marginalized' Christians

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Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan snapped back at critics on Friday, claiming a proposal for direct presidential elections is constitutional and aimed at boosting the role of Christians in governance.

“The problem in the election of the president is not in the lack of quorum but the unconstitutional practice of politics,” said Kanaan during a press conference he held at parliament to brief reporters on a draft-law that his bloc proposed on Thursday.

“The Christians have been marginalized because they are being elected by people from outside their sects,” the lawmaker said.

“An electoral draft-law based on proportionality should have been adopted in 2013 to lead to the election of a president in 2014,” Kanaan said about the failure of the legislature to agree on the draft-law, leading to the extension of parliament's tenure until November 2014.

Lebanon's top Christian post was left vacant in May this year when the rival MPs failed to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman over their differences on a compromise candidate.

The majority of the March 8 alliance's MPs, including the Change and Reform bloc, boycotted the sessions aimed at electing a head of state, causing lack of quorum.

But Kanaan said there was now the opportunity to abide by the National Pact - the 1943 power-sharing agreement that allowed the president to be a Maronite, the speaker a Shiite and the prime minister a Sunni.

The MP stressed that under the new proposal, the president would be elected by the people in two rounds.

In the first round, only Christians would vote for the candidates. And in the second, the polls would be held at the level of the entire nation to pave way for both Muslims and Christians to choose the two candidates who received the majority of votes in the first round.

Direct elections need the amendment of clause 2 of article 49 of the constitution, which “consolidate democracy and the rotation of power,” said Kanaan.

He also stressed that such an amendment does not transform Lebanon's parliamentary system into a presidential system.

“The proposal is the permanent solution for the deadlock,” Kanaan stated.

Clause 2 of Article 49 says: “The President of the Republic shall be elected by secret ballot and by a two-thirds majority of the Chamber of Deputies.”

In earlier remarks to An Nahar daily, Kanaan described it as a “technical” clause that is not linked to the president's authorities.“On the contrary, it is the best way to respect the Taef accord,” he said.

The proposal has been totally rejected by Change and Reform bloc Michel Aoun's rivals in the March 14 alliance.

Al-Mustaqbal MP Ahmed Fatfat told LBCI that the bloc's move “is not serious and is unacceptable under the current circumstances.”

“It differentiates among citizens,” he said.

Another member of al-Mustaqbal bloc, MP Assem Araji said the proposal is aimed at “striking the constitution and the Taef accord, which has so far not been fully implemented.”

“It would have been better for the Change and Reform bloc to head to parliament to elect a president,” he told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5).

Kataeb MP Elie Marouni expressed similar views. He told MTV that instead of making his proposal, Aoun should head to parliament to elect a head of state and fill the vacuum.

As for Aoun's allies in the March 8 alliance, An Nahar quoted the camp's officials as saying that they were “not at ease with the proposal.”

The officials, who were not identified, did not give further details.



Comments 16
Missing imperatrice 22 August 2014, 12:45

by the same sectarian logic, few years from now if we have a sunni-shiite alliance again
how will you guarantee the christian rights to elect their president noting that aoun's tsunami in 2005 came as an objection and reply to this alliance

Missing imperatrice 22 August 2014, 12:46

as by the secular logic, you really think its worth changing the governance system and constitution for one man?
oh wait, yes you do
what a shame

Default-user-icon CFTC (Guest) 22 August 2014, 13:43

Same for the oil & gas file. Few outsiders are lobbying (we all know exacly which outsiders) some local parties to postpone definitive decisions in that regard keep Lebanon dependent to their ''money''...

Missing ysurais 22 August 2014, 13:10

Why not ...perhaps the same scenario must be done to elect the prime minister, and the speaker..and, and..
Let everything be done by the people..i think Qaddafi/Saddam/Basharo used the same scenario all along..

Thumb thefool 23 August 2014, 06:55

Agreed. it is a New idea. I don't hear anyone giving solutions... Just complaining.

Thumb charlesmartel 22 August 2014, 13:55

....citizens of iran also? wow....never thought that after all the last 10 years humiliations we have to consider becoming a 4th world citizens....

Thumb beiruti 22 August 2014, 15:08

I will say again, you cannot amend the Lebanese Constitution at a time when there is no president. Under the constitution the only action that Parliament can take is as an electoral body to elect a President and it does not and cannot under the Constitution sit a s a deliberative or legislative body. It would have to act as a Legislative body to adopt a decree to amend the constitution.
This guy Kenaan is talking pure nonsense.
First get a President and then a Parliament and then discuss amendments to the Taif. It is the only constitutional way to proceed.

Thumb nickjames 22 August 2014, 15:49

“The Christians have been marginalized because they are being elected by people from outside their sects,” the lawmaker said.

What happened to the president being elected by all Lebanese? And why is he complaining anyway? His party won most of their seats from Shi3a voters.

“The problem in the election of the president is not in the lack of quorum but the unconstitutional practice of politics,”

The unconstitutional practice of politics i.e. boycotting Parliament. I don't think even Bassil has said things that dumb, yet...

Default-user-icon Charalampos Serafeim Sotiris (Guest) 22 August 2014, 16:27

exactly flamethrower!!!! Thank you for saying it as it is. You are admired, respected, and looked up to.

Default-user-icon cancan (Guest) 22 August 2014, 16:32

just stop posting dude..

Default-user-icon Zingarelio Lippondash (Guest) 22 August 2014, 16:45

Who needs more help for the marginalized Christians after Gearge Adwan, Dr. Arreet 7akeh's right-hand loud-mouth, helped to the maximum by taking into consideration the cause of the ill-represented and mistreated minority Druze of Walid Jumblat, the famous describer of the jens 3atel?

Thumb Mazen 22 August 2014, 16:59

This proposal is flawed. The president should be elected by the people but in one round, let the majority decide who they want that's real democracy. Shiites are the true majority and we are the ones that are marginalized.

Default-user-icon roukuz (Guest) 22 August 2014, 17:45

agree specially that you have 100,000 rockets and can do what you want. I call that marginalization

Thumb Tony.Farris 22 August 2014, 20:15

Berri for el-presidenty. lol

Missing greatpierro 23 August 2014, 00:29

“The Christians have been marginalized because they are being elected by people from outside their sects,” the lawmaker said.

This is bull crap. Since when does the constitution say that an mp should represent and be elected by people from his/her sect?

The national pact and Taef is about sharing of power among sects but not partitioning the representation of Lebanese by their sect.

Default-user-icon PEACE (Guest) 23 August 2014, 13:11

Swallowing a lie by Daaesh claiming they are peaceful is still easier for me than
Accepting a lie by "Aoun &sons in law" shouting they are defending the interest of Christians.
Aoun & sons in law are hurting Christian more than Daaesh.