Lebanese Parliament Extended By 11 Months And Elections To Be Held In 2018

Recently, President Michel Aoun, Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Saad Hariri were working on a new electoral law which divides Lebanon into 15 districts. This new law is based on the Taif Agreement which was established in 1989 to provide parity between Muslims and Christians. The electoral law got approved by the Cabinet. President Michel Aoun and PM Saad Hariri signed the decree which will be ratified by the Parliament on the 16th of June. In fact, this law comes with an 11-month extension of the Lebanese Parliament. Therefore, this will be the 3rd term of the members of the Parliament. They have have served for 8 years until now. The elections are expected to be held in May 2018. The elections got postponed for technical reasons; authorities should be given enough time to prepare for the elections to:

  • Make voters aware of the way the new system works
  • Issue magnetic voting cards
  • Provide printed ballots
  • Prepare for an electronic voting tabulation

As for the two previous extensions, both of them have a reason. The excuse for the first one was that the instability brought by the Syrian civil war in Lebanon makes an extension necessary. The second extension was approved because there was a presidential vacuum.

What do some politicians think of the new law?

PM Saad Hariri is glad that the process of agreeing on the law was done in a positive atmosphere. Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gibran Bassil said that this new electoral law will be effective in representing minorities. However, MP

Samy Gemayel

criticized this voting law. He said that the purpose of extending the term is to make financial gains out of it. In addition to that, Gemayel accused parties of making the creation of electronic cards an excuse to extend their terms. Moreover, he commented on the cancellation of the “female quota” item and said that women in Lebanon should be able to represent themselves in the Parliament. President Aoun thinks that this new system does not create a full balance, but it’s a step forward. Bassil has recently asked to

allocate 6 extra seats to the Lebanese expats

. The representation of the Lebanese Diaspora in Lebanon has been discussed during a recent meeting at Hariri’s residence. The elections that will be held after four years will fulfil Bassil’s demand.