Hizbullah and Mustaqbal Voice ‘Categorical Rejection’ of Parliamentary Void

Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal Movement stressed during their 41st bilateral dialogue session on Monday the need to reach an electoral law as soon as possible.

“The conferees continued discussions over the preparations aimed at reaching an electoral law and underlined the need to approve it with the possible speed,” said a joint statement issued after the talks in Ain el-Tineh.

“They also emphasized their categorical rejection of the possibility of reaching parliamentary vacuum due to its dangerous impact on the situations, urging all forces to maintain consultations in order to reach a new law,” the statement added.

Talks also tackled “the financial and social files and the need that the political and social forces engage in a calm and objective dialogue to reach solutions that spare low-income citizens any damage.”

Prime Minister and Mustaqbal leader Saad Hariri had held talks earlier in the day with President Michel Aoun after which he announced that Mustaqbal is “open to all the electoral laws that have been proposed.”

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced that Lebanon will have a new electoral law within a month, noting that it will inevitably contain a proportional representation component.

The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the parliament has since extended its own mandate twice.

Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on proportional representation but Mustaqbal and Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat had both voiced reservations.

Mustaqbal has argued that Hizbullah’s arms would prevent serious competition in the party’s strongholds while Jumblat has warned that such an electoral system would “marginalize” the minority Druze community whose presence is concentrated in the Chouf and Aley areas.

The political parties are meanwhile discussing a so-called hybrid electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system.