Bassil Fears Binning of His Electoral Format, Asks Geagea to Give It a ‘Chance’

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has asked his ally Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea to give a “chance” to his latest electoral law proposal that is based on a hybrid system, a media report said.

“Bassil has expressed concerns over the possible binning of his electoral law format – the third that he has proposed – due to the growing number of its opponents after the LF joined them,” the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported on Sunday.

“Bassil has asked Geagea to grant the format a chance so that it can be promoted,” the newspaper added.

LF sources meanwhile told al-Hayat that the Lebanese Forces has suggestions to “improve the representation of Christians in parliament” but that it will refrain from submitting them “before giving Cabinet a one-week chance to study Bassil’s proposal.”

Both the LF and Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat have voiced reservations over Bassil’s format.

Jumblat lashed out at the proposal, which involves sectarian voting in the first round, as “divisive” and the product of a “sick mentality.”

The system had been initially proposed by Speaker Nabih Berri several months ago before being eventually endorsed by Bassil.

In the first round, voting takes place in the current 26 districts and voters are not allowed to vote for candidates from other sects. Two candidates for each sectarian seat qualify for the second round during which voting would take place in 10 newly-defined electoral districts and according to a non-sectarian proportional representation polling system.

The second round’s ten districts are Akkar, North, Baalbek-Hermel, Zahle-West Bekaa, Northern Mount Lebanon (Jbeil, Keserwan, Metn, Baabda), Southern Mount Lebanon (Chouf and Aley), Beirut 1 (Ashrafieh, Rmeil, Medawwar, Marfa, Saifi, Bashoura), Beirut 2 (Ras Beirut, Dar el-Mreisseh, Mina el-Hosn, Zoqaq el-Blat, Mazraa, Mousaitbeh), South (Sidon, Tyre, Zahrani, Jezzine), and Nabatiyeh (Nabatiyeh, Bint Jbeil, Marjeyoun, Hasbaya).