Report: Jumblat Suggests New Electoral Law Format

As endeavors to endorse a new electoral law for the upcoming parliamentary polls stutter, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat recently submitted to Speaker Nabih Berri a new draft law proposal that was kept away from media spotlight, media reports said on Thursday.

“Jumblat has submitted some general ideas about an electoral law that involves specific acceptable proportionality, agreeable for him, and very much unlike other formats that tend to marginalize some political components,” unnamed sources following up on electoral law discussions told al-Joumhouria daily.

While Berri kept mum about the proposal presented by leader of the Democratic Gathering bloc, Jumblat, he only told those who inquired about the matter that “it is worthy of discussion.”

For their part, PSP sources told the daily: “Some are trying to obstruct efforts to reach a new electoral solution and attempt to blame us for that,” adding that the PSP only supports a just electoral law that marginalizes no one.

“Based on that, MP Jumblat has submitted new ideas, that we believe are just about applicable. They are in the hands of Berri whom we trust is capable of taking things to the shore’s safety,” added the sources.

Political parties are bickering over amending the current 1960 majoritarian election law which divides seats among the different religious sects.

While al-Mustaqbal Movement has rejected that the electoral law be fully based on proportional representation, arguing that Hizbullah’s arms would prevent serious competition in the party’s strongholds, MP Walid Jumblat has totally rejected proportional representation, even within a hybrid law, warning it would “marginalize” his minority Druze community.

Hizbullah, Mustaqbal, Berri’s AMAL Movement, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces have discussed several formats of a so-called hybrid law.

The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the legislature has instead twice extended its own mandate. The last polls were held under an amended version of the 1960 electoral law and the next vote is scheduled for May.