Geagea Says LF Adheres to Bassil’s Electoral Law Format

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea said he supports an electoral law format suggested by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil because any other law format would give his party 15 seats less at the parliament, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday.

“We support a hybrid law format, to be specific we support the latest hybrid law suggested by Minister Jebran Bassil, because it leads to proper representation. I can’t see any reason to back down on that proposal in favor of any other that would give us 15 seats less at the parliament,” said Geagea in an interview to the daily.

“This is why we adhere to Bassil’s hybrid law proposal, which I hope will be put for voting at the cabinet or discussed at the parliament,” he added.

On what will the LF position be at a cabinet session on Monday devoted to discuss Lebanon’s voting system, Geagea lamented how the successive governments have failed to devise a new electoral law despite the pledges they made.

“The LF position is very clear. For eight years now, Lebanon has been in the midst of an electoral law challenge. Many pledges were made before the 2009 polls that Lebanon will have a new law,” he said, adding that they still vow the same but without succeeding.

“Frankly, we feel like the deceived spouse on the electoral law, meaning we are given many promises from many parties. But, only a month or two separate us from the term’s end of the current parliament without a new law,” said Geagea, stressing the need to adopt voting as a new mechanism to reach an agreement in that regard.

“In our opinion, the mechanism that should be adopted is to resort to the cabinet and then to the parliament for voting on the formats suggested. We will declare our opinion during the cabinet meeting,” he added.

The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the legislature has instead twice extended its own mandate. The last polls were held under an amended version of the 1960 electoral law.

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has recently proposed an electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the controversial law proposed by the Orthodox Gathering.

Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on the proportional representation system and a single or several large electorates.

Druze leader Walid Jumblat has rejected proportional representation, warning that it would “marginalize” his minority Druze community, whose presence is concentrated in the Aley and Chouf areas.

Amid reservations over proportional representation by other parties such as al-Mustaqbal Movement and the Lebanese Forces, the political parties are mulling a so-called hybrid electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system.