Parliament Bureau Sets Legislative Session to Extend Parliament Mandate

Members of the parliament’s bureau invited the MPs for a legislative session on Thursday devoted to study a draft law submitted by MP Nicolas Fattoush to extend the parliament’s term until June 2018.

MP Serje Tersarkisian told reporters on Tuesday after taking part in the parliament bureau meeting: “A legislative session has been scheduled on Thursday to mainly discuss the extension of the parliament’s term.”

The cabinet formed a ministerial committee on Monday led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri tasked with preparing an electoral draft law.

Asked what steps would the parliament take on Thursday if the committee succeeded at drafting a new a law, Tersarkisian said: “Then the parliament would take that into consideration and vote on that new law,” instead of extending the term of the parliament.

Political parties have failed since the government’s formation to agree on a voting system that will rule Lebanon’s parliamentary elections slated for May.

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.

Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on the proportional representation system and a single or several large electorates.

Druze leader Walid Jumblat has rejected proportional representation, warning that it would “marginalize” his minority Druze community, whose presence is concentrated in the Aley and Chouf areas.

Amid reservations over proportional representation by other parties such as al-Mustaqbal Movement and the Lebanese Forces, the political parties are mulling a so-called hybrid electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system.

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil has recently proposed an electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the controversial law proposed by the Orthodox Gathering.

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