Report: Hariri to Introduce Electoral Law Format Similar to 2013 Initiative

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri (R) gives a press conference after meeting with Emmanuel Macron (UNSEEN), an independent candidate in France's presidential election in April, at the government palace in Beirut on January 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JOSEPH EID

Lebanon’s political parties rally to put a new format for a voting system that will govern May’s parliamentary polls before the term of the current parliament ends on June 20.

In that regard, “Prime Minister Saad Hariri is expected to suggest a format that he previously presented in 2013 from Paris when parties in Lebanon were divided over an electoral law at the time before the parliament extended its term,” al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday.

“Hariri’s proposal is much more than an electoral law,” said the daily, “it goes beyond that to the application of the Taef accord which is based on the establishment of a senate while the parliament would be elected based on a proportional representation system.”

Shall an agreement on a senate fail to be reached within a specific period of time, “the elections will then be held based on the sectarian qualification law in the first stage and then based on the proportional system in the second,” it added.

In 2013, Hariri called for a small-district law for the parliamentary elections and for the establishment of a senate representing all religions and sects as stipulated by the Taef agreement.

According to information obtained by the daily, Hariri is now marketing his proposal with various political parties ahead of May 15 deadline.

Efforts to find a new law have picked up steam lately after President Michel Aoun on April 12 suspended the parliament for one month -to avoid another term extension- paving way for Lebanon’s parties to deliberate a law that meets approval of all.

Before Aoun decided to invoke his constitutional powers and suspend the parliament, Lebanon’s deputies were set to vote to postpone national elections and extend their term for a third time since 2013.

Several draft law proposals to replace the current 1960 majoritarian law have failed so far.

On Sunday, the Progressive Socialist Party announced a format that is said to be followed by another by Speaker Nabih Berri and Hariri.