Berri Warns against ‘Procrastination in Finalizing Electoral Law’

Speaker Nabih Berri on Wednesday warned against “procrastination” in finalizing the new electoral law, stressing that “proportional representation is the most appropriate and essential system for building a modern state in Lebanon.”

Proportional representation “ensure fair national representation and meets the aspirations and hopes of the Lebanese,” Berri said during his weekly meeting with lawmakers.

“Investment in security remains the most important national investment,” the speaker added, noting that Lebanon’s experience “has proved the importance of this approach.”

Berri also hailed “the efforts of the army and security forces for strengthening stability, protection national security and reassuring the Lebanese.”

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq had recently warned that there is not much time left to pass a new electoral law while announcing that the ministry is ready to organize the polls under the 1960 law.

Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on proportional representation but other political parties, especially al-Mustaqbal Movement and the Progressive Socialist Party, have rejected the proposal and argued that the party’s controversial arsenal of arms would prevent serious competition in regions where the Iran-backed party has clout.

Mustaqbal, the Lebanese Forces and the PSP have meanwhile proposed a hybrid electoral law that mixes the proportional representation and the winner-takes-all systems. Berri has also proposed a hybrid law.

The country has not voted for a parliament since 2009, with the legislature instead twice extending its own mandate.

The 2009 polls were held under an amended version of the 1960 electoral law and the next elections are scheduled for May 2017.