Lebanese party appeals electoral law amendments

Lebanese party appeals electoral law amendments
2 min read
16 November, 2021
A Lebanese party has appealed amendments made to an electoral law, which will govern next year's parliamentary elections in Lebanon - a country reeling under its worst-ever economic crisis
Bassil and his party have rejected the current state of the electoral law [Getty-file photo]

The head of Lebanon’s Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil insisted on Tuesday on holding the parliamentary elections on time, before forwarding an appeal on amendments made to the electoral law.

"We asked to suspend the amendments and not the (election) law, and this does not affect the administrative procedures for preparing the elections," Bassil said after meeting with his parliamentary bloc.

Bassil's party appealed the law before the Constitutional Council.

The Lebanese parliament voted on 28 October to hold legislative elections on 27 March, confirming an earlier vote the week before that had been challenged by President Michel Aoun.

Aoun is the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement, currently led by his son-in-law Bassil, also a lawmaker.

Bassil said that there was a flagrant and frank infringement on the prerogatives of the cabinet, which sets the voting date and invites the electoral college to prepare for the legislative election.

Holding elections in March might be difficult for people trying to return to their towns and villages in mountainous areas, he said, especially if the weather is stormy or roads are cut off because of heavy snow.

He has also argued that the election would fall in Lent, when many Lebanese will be fasting.

A proposal put forward by the Free Patriotic Movement to establish mega voting centres in major cities so that people don’t need to travel to their hometowns was dropped by parliament.

Another point of contention was on how many MPs Lebanese emigrants would be allowed to vote for. Bassil had proposed letting expatriates vote for only six MPs to represent them abroad, which was also overturned.

The elections come at a crucial time for the country, which is currently in an economic and financial meltdown.

Mass protests which began in October 2019 had called for a complete overhaul of the ruling class, accused of destroying the country’s public, judicial and financial institutions through rampant corruption and gross mismanagement.

The capital Beirut was also hit by a devastating explosion last year when ammonium nitrate stored at the port ignited and blew up, killing over 200 people and wounding thousands.