Lawmakers meet to discuss a new electoral law in Parliament, Beirut, on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
What happened in January is quite interesting. It seems that the Orthodox Gathering law is being used not only for electoral purposes, but also for political ones.
Michel Aoun’s strategy. The OG law is the perfect electoral change for him. It gives him the chance to compete on 64 seats, and to win up to 40 of them. It makes him less dependant on his Shia allies, and permits an emergence of a Sunni opposition. But it’s not the law in itself that’s only reinforcing Michel Aoun. Michel Aoun has two goals before the elections: To separate whatever is left of M14 parties, but also to make sure the Free Patriotic Movement stays more powerful than the other parties on the Christian scene. There is no doubt that the FPM was losing popularity on the Christian side for the past few years. (more…)
Orthodox Gathering Law – The Reasons
Electoral laws should always be viewed with a pessimistic point of view. In the 1950s, we thought we had a modern electoral law (Women were eligible to vote for the first time), yet we went for a civil strife in 1958, which was partly caused by the fact that the gerrymandered districts threw major Muslim leaders outside the parliament. In the 1960s, the law was also considered to be a major breakthrough. The numbers of MPs was higher than ever, the administrative cazas became electoral constituencies, and creating relatively bigger constituencies with significant multi-sectarian representation was a huge achievement that was supposed to weaken sectarianism by making it harder for a sectarian MP to make it in mixed districts, and easier for a cross-sectarian candidate to make it by getting a significant number of votes from each sectarian group. (more…)
I usually publish another post on the electoral law where I say if it has chances to pass. This time, I won’t publish. It’s obvious, the law won’t pass because there’s an unconditional general Muslim veto on it.
That’s me, 8 months ago. As you can notice, events evolve quite fast in this country. Who would’ve thought that the Orthodox Gathering law would be actually considered as an alternative to the 1960 law? There have been lots of talk on the issue (and even a Promotion and its Parody), so I’m going to bombard you with several posts on the Orthodox Gathering Electoral law. Just as a reminder, the OG law makes Lebanon one single district in which each sect can only vote for its coreligionists MPs under proportional representation.
I hereby leave you with the first part, an analysis on the unconstitutionality of the law.
Article 7 All Lebanese shall be equal before the law. They shall equally enjoy civil and political rights and shall equally be bound by public obligations and duties without any distinction.
One of the problems of the law is that it gives the Christians, 38%, the right to vote for 50% of the MPs. Under the 1960 law, the Christian and Muslim votes are equal in their influence. (more…)