Geagea, Jumblatt bury rivalry for electoral law
BEIRUT: The longstanding Christian-Druze tension further dissipated Tuesday as Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea voiced opposition to any electoral law that didn’t meet the approval of Progressive Socialist Party head MP Walid Jumblatt.
“We will not accept any new electoral law which is not approved by the Progressive Socialist Party,” Geagea said in a statement on his personal Twitter account.
Geagea’s comments come after an article published by Lebanon’s AlJoumhouria newspaper Tuesday that quoted the PSP leader as saying that there were some parties trying to politically marginalize the Druze sect.
“We [the Druze] are in a situation as if we are holding a stateless identity which we will never accept,” Jumblatt said in the article.
The Lebanese Forces formally reassured Jumblatt when MP Strida Geagea phoned the PSP head to inform him of her party’s rejection of their marginalization.
Jumblatt and his party then welcomed the LF’s stance.
“The PSP appreciates the stances taken by Geagea, which reflects his comprehension of the delicate Lebanese political structure that cannot upset or endanger the presence of important and founding pillars of the nation,” PSP’s senior media officer Rami Rayess told The Daily Star.
Blasting the claimed marginalization of the Druze sect, Jumblatt said it seemed “As if a main component of this country, which is the Druze, doesn’t exist.”
Renewed discussions on a new electoral law have drawn the ire of Jumblatt, with the Druze leader publically voicing his opposition to a proportional electoral law.
Separately, Prime Minister Saad Hariri was quoted by visitors to his downtown Beirut residence as respecting Jumblatt’s opinion, saying that the PSP chief was an essential component to the nation and his sect. “Our consensus aims to [placate] all sects, not agitating them,” Hariri said. He also noted that Jumblatt was open to dialogue.
Lebanese parties have been divided between adopting a proportional vote law or a hybrid electoral law that includes aspects of the proportional and the current 1960 winnertake-all systems.
The Free Patriotic Movement, Amal Movement and Hezbollah have repeatedly expressed their support for a proportional electoral law.
However, some officials have not ruled out the idea that elections could again be held under the current 1960 law if no agreement is made in time for the vote, which is expected in May if it goes ahead on time.
Geagea’s tweet drew a response from Tawhid Party chief Wi’am Wahhab, an outspoken critic of his fellow Druze politician, who asked via Twitter: “Do we understand that Geagea considers the entire Druze sect as represented by only Jumblatt?”