The Subsidiary Parliamentary Committee will meet again today to look into the common factors among proposals for a new election law, one that is fair and consensual. But it is clear that the committee is only wasting time, like all Lebanon has been lately doing as it awaits developments on the Syrian front.
The committee, together with members of parliament and political factions, is acting as if the time frames given by the Lebanese constitution are of no value at all, as if time itself is of no value at all. It acts as if it was surprised by the date of the elections and therefore hurried to look for those non-existent common grounds in proposals that are mostly dictated by external powers, thus making every discussion about them a sheer absurdity.
I was surprised to hear MP Botros Harb say that he is preparing another new proposal other than the ones already there. On the other hand, MP Sami al-Jumayel said he is not insisting on the Orthodox Gathering project he and the Kataeb Party are adopting while his cousin objected. But Jumayel said he is against proportional representation. As for Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, he proposed again that Lebanon becomes one electoral constituency while keeping the proportional representation system.
MPs of the Future Movement, the Socialist Party, Lebanese Forces, and the Kataeb object to proportional representation while the Church, Christians, and Hezbollah are against the Sixty Law and the Future Movement, the Socialist Party, and Christian independents reject the Orthodox Gathering. Hezbollah and Amal Movement object to the fifty constituencies’ proposal and Hezbollah, the Future Movement, and the Socialist Party object to Fouad Botros’s proposal. Meanwhile, MP Akram Shuhaib hinted at cancelling the confessional system altogether and called for the establishment of a Senate in response to the Christian alliance.
Those objections are hampering all proposals subject of negotiations. If no election law is passed some time soon, the prophecy of Interior Minister Marawan Sharbal about the technical postponement of the elections for six months will come true. In fact, it will be more than six months since the new date will come in the middle of winter and participation would not be possible for those living in Lebanon, let alone those across the globe.
It seems that it is in the best interest of all factions to have the elections postponed, for they are all conspiring against Lebanese citizens through wasting time until postponement becomes inevitable and extension, with all the opportunities it offers to the power-greedy, becomes a matter of fact.
This article was first published in the Lebanon-based Annahar on Jan. 21, 2013.
Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni