Hizbullah, Mustaqbal Agree to ‘Intensify Communication’ over Electoral Law

Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal Movement announced Monday that they have agreed to “intensify communication” over the issue of the electoral law.

A terse statement issued after the two parties’ 39th dialogue session in Ain el-Tineh said “the conferees discussed the need to speed up the approval of a new electoral law that meets the aspirations of the Lebanese.”

“The outcome of the contacts and the proposed laws were tackled and the conferees agreed to intensify communication in the coming days to resolve the obstacles,” the statement added.

Speaker Nabih Berri and Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq have announced that the country is likely headed to parliamentary elections under the controversial 1960 electoral law due to the parties’ failure to agree on a new law.

Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on proportional representation but other political parties, especially Mustaqbal and the Progressive Socialist Party, have rejected the proposal, arguing that Hizbullah’s weapons 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.