Berri Overlooks His Version of Electoral Law, Says Weighing New Ideas

Speaker Nabih Berri said a new electoral law must be agreed within the one-month time period given since President Michel Aoun used his powers to suspend the parliament, and assured that he longer adheres to the 64-64 version of a law format he proposed earlier, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.

“In the remaining time we have to reach a new electoral law, we must not give up or be forced to extend (the parliament’s term). There is still time, it is shameful for us to fail at finding a format that satisfies all segments of Lebanese society, regardless of their magnitude,” Berri told his visitors on Tuesday

“We will not accept a law that is not acceptable to all parties, without any exceptions,” he added.

Berri added that in order to avoid a parliament extension term, the political parties have first to agree on a new law.

“A parliament extension becomes one of two indispensable evils in the absence of a new law,” he stressed.

On the law format proposals that have been put forward so far, Berri said: “Personally I am currently trying to find an ideal format. I have already submitted the 64-64 version which I no longer adhere to, knowing that it secures more than 50 Christian deputies with the votes of Christians.

“Moreover, many sharp objections were made about the qualification format, mainly by MP Walid Jumblat, the Lebanese Forces and others.”

Berri’s hybrid electoral law suggested a distribution of 64-64 between the majority and the proportionality.

He concluded saying that many political parties are putting in efforts to find a new format including Hizbullah and himself.

“Our Hizbullah brothers are studying some ideas,” he said noting that the party has also made a suggestion earlier “and I am trying to take some of these suggestions and combine them with my own perhaps we reach consensus on a certain formula,” concluded Berri.