[QODLink]
Archive
Lebanon official says poll law faulty
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has acknowledged that the country's election law is faulty and unjust but said it is the best possible law under the circumstances.
Last Modified: 14 May 2005 17:31 GMT
Nabih Berri is the leader of the Shia pro-Syrian Amal militia
Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has acknowledged that the country's election law is faulty and unjust but said it is the best possible law under the circumstances.

At a news conference during which he also announced his ticket for south Lebanon elections on 5 June, Berri said the law is the lesser of two evils.

But one of the priorities of the new parliament, he said, will be to draw up a modern law that will be acceptable to all Lebanese.

Efforts to come up with a new election law based on smaller districts were stymied when Berri declined to open a legislative session to discuss a new law.

Berri is expected to fare better under the old arrangement and some opposition members are thought to have quietly condoned Berri's move to ensure their re-election as well.

Christian discontent

Lebanese Christians led by the influential Maronite Church have demanded the election law be changed to create smaller voting districts before the elections.

Christians, who account for 30% of the population and have opposed Syrian dominance, allege that the 2000 election law sets voting districts in a way that favours Muslim voters and Muslim candidates' lists.

Maronite leaders say the election
law favours Muslims

At the moment, Christians and Muslims have an equal share of seats in the 128-member legislature.

Meanwhile, Berri defended his Resistance and Development election ticket, saying it represents the south and southern families.

For the south Lebanon election, Berri, leader of the pro-Syrian Amal militia, has teamed up with Shia Muslim rivals of the Hizb Allah group to forge joint tickets likely to sweep votes in the area and return many of Syria's allies to parliament.

Al-Hariri assassination

The election has divided the anti-Syrian opposition, which united many Christians and Muslims in rejecting Syrian dominance after the 14 February assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

Elections are scheduled to begin on 29 May and run until 19 June.

Some politicians have suggested postponing them until a new, more representative election law can be drawn up while others have hinted at a possible boycott.

But the United States, the European Union and the United Nations - which all pressured Syria to withdraw all of its troops from Lebanon last month so unimpeded elections could be held - have demanded voting be held on time.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Deadly attacks on anti-mining activists in the Philippines part of a global trend, according to new report.
Activists say 'Honor Diaries' documentary exploits gender-based violence to further an anti-Islamic agenda.
As Syria's civil war escalates along the Turkish border, many in Turkey are questioning the country's involvement.
Treatment for autism in the region has progressed, but lack of awareness and support services remains a challenge.
The past isn't far away for a people exiled from Crimea by Russia and the decades it took to get home.
join our mailing list