Bkirki committee may recommend return to 1960 election law

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, center, heads a meeting for Christian leaders in Bkirki, Lebanon, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. (The Daily Star)

Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, center, heads a meeting for Christian leaders in Bkirki, Lebanon, Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. (The Daily Star)

The Daily Star
9/2/2012

BEIRUT: In the wake of strong rejection of an electoral law proposed by the Orthodox Gathering, chances are reportedly high for a return to the 1960 election law.

Quoting Christian political sources, Al-Markazia News Agency said Bkirki committee members were preparing a detailed report on the outcome of their talks with various political parties on an election plan proposed by the Orthodox Gathering.

Members of the committee, set up by the Maronite Church in Bkriki to follow up on election draft laws, will present their report to Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai.

The sources said the Bkirki committee was moving toward agreement on a return to the 1960 election law given the failure of the Orthodox plan to gain traction.

While the law of 1960 adopts the qada as an electoral district and was used in the 2009 elections, the Orthodox Gathering proposal stipulates that each sect elect its own candidates based on proportional representation.

However, the Orthodox plan has drawn fire because it could further deepen sectarianism.

Head of the Future parliamentary bloc Fouad Siniora was quoted as saying Thursday that, if passed into law, the Orthodox plan would sow divisions among the Lebanese.

“The Orthodox plan pushes the country into a deeper split and won’t achieve the desired goals,” Siniora was quoted by pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat as saying.

Rai, for his part, has warned against a return to the 1960 election law and said such a move would be “shameful” given the fundamental changes and developments that have taken place in Lebanon.

Top politicians are discussing a new law for the 2013 round of elections.

Bkirki endorsed the Orthodox Gathering’s election proposal, but stressed the need to hold a dialogue with the rest of the Lebanese factions on the issue.

Source: