Vatican envoy holds talks with Orthodox Gathering

The Daily Star

BEIRUT: The Vatican’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Bishop Gabriel Caccia, met Friday with a delegation from the Orthodox Gathering to discuss the situation of Christians in the Middle East given recent changes in the region.

The gathering’s secretary-general Michel Tueni, discussed with Caccia the situation of Christians in the east, particularly in Lebanon, in light of recent regional changes.

Tueni said that details of the gathering’s proposal for a new electoral law in the country, which the organization is studying, were also discussed.

Lebanese Christians are working on a draft electoral law for the upcoming 2013 parliamentary elections. Bkirki, the seat of the Maronite Patriarchate, is studying means to better represent Christians in Lebanon.

The Cabinet is currently evaluating a draft law for electoral law based on proportional representation, presented by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.

The Orthodox Gathering, which includes businessmen, politicians and Greek Orthodox clerics, was formed earlier this year in protest at what they say is the marginalization of the Greek Orthodox sect in Lebanon.

The gist of the electoral law proposal, which has won wide criticism, suggests that each sect elects its own lawmakers to ensure a fairer representation.

“[The proposal] would provide equal representation that’s in line with the Taif Accord,” the National News Agency quoted Tueni as saying.