FPM to Continue Electoral Law Contacts after Tour as Hizbullah Warns on Deadlines

The Free Patriotic Movement announced Friday that it will continue its electoral law talks with the political parties away from the media spotlight, after an FPM delegation met with the country’s main political parties this week to push for the adoption of a new electoral law.

“As of this moment, we will launch the second phase, which is serious communication away from the media spotlight, because there are deadlines and our aim is to reach real partnership and equal power-sharing between Christians and Muslims,” MP Ibrahim Kanaan of the FPM said after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain el-Tineh.

“We agreed that the proportional representation system is the only system that ensures the representation of everyone,” he added.

MP Ali Fayyad of Hizbullah meanwhile announced from Ain el-Tineh that the parties “must explore means to implement a law fully based on proportional representation,” calling for “speeding up the discussions over the new electoral law seeing as the deadlines are nearing.”

Caretaker Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq has 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, have rejected the proposal and argued that the party’s arsenal of arms would prevent serious competition in regions where the Iran-backed party has clout.

Mustaqbal, the Lebanese Forces and the Progressive Socialist Party 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.