Bassil: They’re Wasting Time but We’ll Reach New Law Containing Proportional Representation

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil on Sunday called on some political parties not to “waste time,” stressing the need to pass a new electoral law containing the proportional representation system.

“They wasted time and plunged Lebanon into a three-year vacuum but they eventually reached the same truth, which is the election of General (Michel) Aoun as president, and today they’re wasting time, but we’ll reach the same truth, which is a new electoral law containing proportional representation,” Bassil said.

“We’re two days from the date of calling the electoral bodies, which means that we’ve reached the red line,” he warned.

“Lebanon does not bear exclusion or elimination and everyone has acknowledged the need to incorporate proportional representation into the electoral law, but implementation requires courage,” Bassil went on to say.

He also noted that the FPM accepts to “lose 10 seats under proportional representation” whereas another group is refusing to lose “even a single seat.”

The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the legislature has instead twice extended its own mandate.

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, Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat has totally rejected proportional representation, even within a hybrid law, warning that it would “marginalize” the minority Druze community.

Hizbullah, Mustaqbal, AMAL Movement, the FPM and the Lebanese Forces are meanwhile discussing several formats of a so-called hybrid law that mixes proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system.