The Lebanese Center for Human Rights (CLDH) is a local non-profit, non-partisan Lebanese human rights organization in Beirut that was established by the Franco-Lebanese Movement SOLIDA (Support for Lebanese Detained Arbitrarily) in 2006. SOLIDA has been active since 1996 in the struggle against arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and the impunity of those perpetrating gross human violations.

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December 22, 2011

The Daily Star - Mikati warns sects to tread carefully over election law, December 22nd 2011

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Wednesday that debating a new election law for 2013 wasn’t in the country’s best interest, downplaying a new, radical proposal and urging a return to the 1989 Taif Accord.
“I understand the concerns of all sects, but new proposals for an election law aren’t connected to a [given] sect itself,” Mikati said. “What appeared in the so-called ‘Orthodox’ proposal, or what came out of the Bkirki gathering, do not reflect the views of the sect itself. They’re [the result of] meetings by civil groups, which put forward some proposals.”
The prime minister was referring to last week’s meeting at Bkirki by leading Maronite politicians, who endorsed a discussion of an election law proposal by the Orthodox Gathering, which calls for each sect to elect its own MPs to Parliament.
Mikati was speaking to reporters following his meeting with the Beirut Orthodox Archbishop of Beirut, Elias Audi. He said that the two discussed developments in the country, administrative appointments and the parliamentary electoral law.
“It’s not in our interest to begin a debate on the election law, because it won’t be useful,” Mikati said. My advice to all Lebanese is to affirm Taif and implement it entirely, because any imbalance will take us into the unknown, and no one wants that.”
The Taif Accord urges the adoption of the governorate as the electoral district, along with a reconsideration of the country’s administrative divisions, and makes no mention of the option of each sect choosing its own lawmakers.
Earlier Wednesday, Mikati also visited Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai and Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Lahham ahead of the Christmas holiday.
After talks in Bkirki with Rai and his predecessor, Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, Mikati said that their meeting tackled a number of important political issues, including the electoral law and senior appointments in the civil service.
Mikati’s Cabinet has yet to endorse high-ranking administrative appointments, such as the head of the Higher Judicial Council, or a wide range of vacancies in the diplomatic corps.
The Orthodox Gathering’s election law proposal also stipulates proportional representation, and politicians have said a series of meetings will need to be held to work out further details.
Commenting on the proposal of the Orthodox Gathering, Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil said Wednesday that Speaker Nabih Berri supported a discussion of the proposal’s details.
“We cannot treat the proposal by rejecting or endorsing it ... this proposal needs to be discussed starting with the concerns that have been brought up by Christians who support it and by answering the questions that were raised about it,” said Khalil.
Speaking during a meeting with Maronite officials at the headquarters of the Maronite League, Khalil said that Lebanese shouldn’t hastily condemn a proposal for the country’s election law. “We shouldn’t rush and say that such a proposal would cause chaos in the country,” Khalil added.
Meanwhile, former Deputy Prime Minister Elie Ferzli, an author of the Orthodox Gathering proposal, said the plan would ensure equality between Christians and Muslims. “We will not accept that Christians remain followers of non-Christian leaders,” Ferzli told a morning talk show on LBCI.

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