Hariri receives Jumblatt: If we do not achieve an electoral law, the government would have failed

The President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri received this evening at the Grand Serail the Head of the Democratic Gathering MP Walid Jumblatt and discussed with him the situation in the country, particularly the ongoing contacts regarding the electoral law.

After the meeting, Jumblatt said: “We discussed several issues, but the most important thing is to end this impasse and agree on an electoral law that maintains partnership, emphasizes reconciliation and openness and doesn’t create tensions. This is the direction chosen by all. The issue for the Democratic Gathering in the mountain is not about the number of MPs but to emphasize partnership with the Lebanese Forces, the Free Patriotic Movement, the Kataeb, Hezbollah, Amal Movement, Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya and all the other parties in order to enhance the principle of partnership and national unity.

Question: Do you accept total proportional representation?

Jumblatt: When we talked about “the majority law amended” we were moving towards a kind of mixed law. There are also the socio-economic concerns that should be tackled. I remind the Lebanese of the great step taken by Martyr Premier Rafic Hariri in 2000 when he succeeded in linking reforms to Paris II. He started reforms in the ministry of information and the Middle East Airlines. Today there is international chaos and tension, and we have to seriously provide resources in order not to enter a dark tunnel.

Question: Why did you only visit President Aoun during the consultations?

Jumblatt: Who said I will not visit him. First, I voted for him, and second, I didn’t visit Premier Hariri for some time. I visited him in his residence but not officially in the Serail for a while. There is nothing so don’t jump to conclusions.

For his part, Premier Hariri said to journalists while leaving the Serail: “There are several formulas being discussed positively by all parties and also with Walid Jumblatt. We want an electoral law and we want the elections to take place soon. If you ask all parties you will find great seriousness in the discussions to agree on the law. There are discussions on the mixed law, and what is important in these discussions is that everyone knows that in the end there should be an agreement on a new electoral law.
I ask everyone not to jump to conclusions because they do not benefit anyone, and this positivity that we are witnessing today stems from the fact that we all took a decision in politics to reach solutions that benefit the country, whether regarding the electoral law or other issues.
I, as Prime Minister, consider that if we do not achieve an electoral law, then this government would have failed. I think that this issue is very important and all parties in the government have the same perception”.

Question: Isn’t there a deadline for the law?

Hariri: This government started working at the beginning of this year. We achieved several accomplishments to restore the confidence of the citizens and we are working on the completion of the budget. Today we agreed on several important issues related to the revenues and we are holding three cabinet meetings per week and I don’t think this happened before. I think that we will also hold three cabinet meetings next week to accomplish the budget as soon as possible. And the electoral law is being discussed on daily basis.

Question: What is the percentage of progress in achieving in this law?

Hariri: I think the percentage reached 70 percent.

Question: Some are threatening to return to the Orthodox law or total proportional representation

Hariri: No one is threatening, we are all seriously discussing the issue and this is the important thing. I reiterate that as journalists, you should realize that the political decision that was taken to agree on an electoral law will be applied. There will be quota for women and several other achievements.

Question: Some newspapers said that the Future Movement is one of the parties pushing for the postponement of elections to be able to organize its internal situation

Hariri: On the contrary. We would have no problem if the elections were to take place tomorrow. No one should think that the Future Movement is weak. It is a strong movement present in all of Lebanon. This talk aims to picture the Future has weakened. On the contrary, the Future Movement carried out its elections and applied the women quota.