Kanaan Defends Aoun’s ‘Vacuum’ Threat, Says Lebanon in ‘Worse than Vacuum’ State

Change and Reform bloc secretary MP Ibrahim Kanaan has defended President Michel Aoun’s recent warning that he might take steps that would eventually lead to a parliamentary “vacuum” in the country.

“The constitution has been violated for 27 years and today we are living a state that is worse than vacuum,” Kanaan told ad-Diyar newspaper in remarks published Sunday.”

“Without a new electoral law, parliamentary polls would resemble an extension” of the incumbent parliament’s term,” Kanaan warned, noting that “the interior minister and other officials might be in charge of implementing the applicable laws, regardless of their quality, but the president is entrusted with protecting the constitution, which comes before everything else.”

Asked about Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat’s call for elections under an “amended” version of the controversial 1960 electoral law, Kanaan stressed that “there will be no return to the 1960 law or its approach because that would deepen the flaws and practically lead to a term extension, not to mention that it would violate the Taef Accord.”

“Let no one bet on stopping us through internal or external factors,” the lawmaker went on to say.

Information Minister Melhem Riachi had announced Thursday that a new electoral law would be reached “in the next ten days.”

President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri had also told ministers during a Cabinet session on Wednesday that a new electoral law would be passed “before the end of February.”

While Hariri’s al-Mustaqbal Movement has rejected that the electoral law be fully based on proportional representation, arguing that Hizbullah’s arms would prevent serious competition in the party’s strongholds, Jumblat has totally rejected proportional representation, even within a hybrid law, warning that it would “marginalize” the minority Druze community.

Hizbullah, Mustaqbal, AMAL Movement, the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces are meanwhile discussing several formats of a so-called hybrid law.

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 and the next vote is scheduled for May.