The Electoral Law for Lebanon , by The Lebanese Opposition

Dear Reader,

Greetings and Good Day,

Considering the actual Lebanese stalemate and the surrounding dangerous geopolitical environment, it is a major priority for the Lebanese Opposition and all the components of the Lebanese civil society, to unite behind a common electoral denominator which is widely representative and carries in it the germs of fairness and modernity.

We all know that the collective Lebanese effort to gain independence and build a nation/state had major limits since 1920. In truth we all failed in the First republic to spur into the state that we were gifted, significant metrics in governance, decency and sovereignty. Corruption and dilettantism were rampant.

We failed again since the Second Republic was instated in 1990 to achieve a reconstruction of hearts and minds that would accompany the civil society into modernity. Lebanese Politicians extracted from the sectarian communities, played into divisions, to rampage the state, mismanage resources, funnel capital, embezzle funds, build followers, disrupt the finances, diminish sovereignty, augment the national debt and erase citizens. The actual elite in power, is a dangerous mafia that represents a major threat to the national security and to the Lebanese independence. Not the least they pursue stubbornly through an illegitimate dialogue committee, several picnic meetings, where settings of flowers center the main table of the conference, without any tangible result. Unhappy with their wrongdoing the elite of failed politicians, is keeping distant the true representatives of the people, such as syndicates, entrepreneurs, students , artisans, independents and others from being engaged in such a primary national issue, the electoral law.

Lebanon, where the state lacks behind the extraction of its own resources from the Mediterranean, the national edifice is severely damaged and all risks converge by telling that the actual second republic is heading to its own demise. One can demur but unless we make a proposal, clarity is affected and gloom abundant.

Let us take some facts and numbers into consideration. Lebanon has no president, yet it has 21 acting ministers and 3 resigned , 128 members of parliament, 2 main levels of administrative divisions, the Muhafazat counting also BAALBECK/HERMEL and AKKAR; and 27 CAZAS (QADA’A) with Beirut the capital.
Lebanon has approximately 3.400.000 registered voters, about 2.300.000 million refugees, and it has 1.1 Lebanese who emigrated in each four families. The highest birth rate is in the north and the highest death rate in the BEKAA, it is thought that illiterate residents (less than 7 years of school) still account for approximately 400.000.

Lebanon has about 1120 municipalities and approximately 1500 villages; it has thousands of public officials and employees, ranging from politicians, to armed forces (Army, FSI, GS, Intelligence, Customs, etc.) firemen, central bank employees, public officials in ministries including diplomats and social security, semi governmental institutions such as OGERO, MEA, Green Project, airports, ports, and public schools accounting for more than 220,000 people which on an average of 1 to 4, they interrelate to approximately 900.000 Lebanese citizens in excess.

Lebanon has hundreds of private industries and independent firms, a significant number of lawyers, doctors, engineers, beauty salons, small bakeries, Security agencies, landlords cultivating their lands, a flourishing banking sector employing more or less 80.000 people, a builder/construction and real estate big dimension, and a dynamic jewelry sector employing hundreds of citizens.
The trade sector, Private Hospitals, and the tourism sector (including hotels, restaurants, beaches and travel companies ) most likely account for much of the consumer spending and the national GDP with thousands of employees also. Although unfortunately these are in the midst of a major crisis. Hence the private sector more or less has to do with approximately 900.000 Lebanese citizens in excess. The state here is totally absent if not for tax collection.

Lebanon has also immersed traffics based on smuggling drugs, arms, cars, luxurious items, black markets, money laundering; and these generate illegal income for an unknown number of citizens. And yet the majority of the Lebanese and other residents are living under very tough social conditions and simultaneously the country is politically witnessing a vertical division.

In truth the nation is delineated following two divergent notions; in turnout fewer than 50 % in the latest 2009 elections, and in the number of confessional registered voters almost equivalent in number. Sense making indicates that electoral redistricting  in a new electoral law will not modify the fragile Lebanese equilibrium per se’, unless it will be coupled to a change in minds, where good governance will mean above all accountability and it will respond to a functioning representation.

Obviously Lebanon cannot move forward forever with unity cabinets or technocrat cabinets or other denominations, avoiding any kind of effective delivery of services and upgrade of the state structures and/or infrastructures and reforms. The rule of profiteers and corrupted elite cannot substitute the rule of law and order.

Law 25, adopted in September 2008, is the Law on the Election to the Chamber of Deputies. The adoption of Law 25 followed a three-year campaign for electoral reform, which included the work of the National Commission for Electoral Law (headed by late former minister, Fouad Boutros) which had prepared a draft election law that proposed a new electoral system and important technical improvements to the electoral process. Law 25 is Lebanon’s fourth law since 1990. As widely expected after the parliamentary elections on 7 June 2009, there is a continued push for a new electoral system and for the adoption of key measures to protect secrecy of the ballot, and the establishment of an independent election administration, that will not necessarily take over from the interior ministry rather to act in unison.

The draft law of Late Fouad Boutros is based on a mixed electoral system with proportional representation which is introduced in parallel to the majority system with dual districting. It recommends among several topics; an independent electoral commission to oversee the elections; regulation of campaign spending; regulation of Media coverage of election campaigns; holding the entire national elections on one day; encouraging women candidacy by introducing a women’s quota on candidates’ lists,  and deadlines for candidate and list registration.

In a fine tuning of the proposed electoral system, of the late Fouad Boutros, The Lebanese Opposition suggests that Members of Parliament are voted for as follows:60 Members are elected by voters in each Qada via the majority system ( M) and 68 Members are elected by voters in each Muhafaza via the proportional system (PR).

Electoral Districts and allocation of Seats for all Lebanon will become: North Lebanon 28 seats divided into 12 majority system (M) and 16 proportional (PR )

Northern Mount Lebanon 16 seats divided into 7 majority system (M) and 9 proportional (PR);

Beirut   19 seats divided into 9 (M) and 10 (PR);

Southern Mount Lebanon 19 seats divided into 10 (M) and 9 (PR);

South Lebanon& Nabatieh 23 seats divided into 10 (M) and 13 (PR);

Bekaa & Baalbek/ Hermel  23 seats divided into 12(M) and 11 (PR);

( the division between M and PR respects a simple concept where PR will have always a  preference) ); intakes per caza can be further detailed and these are very simple for intuition (please refer below for examples of the North and Beirut).

The national list will be on a 3 Lebanon concept as it will represent 3 geographic areas/lists/tickets of about 1.1 million voters each. The first will include Akkar, Minieh Dinnieh, Tripoli, Zgharta, Koura, Batroun, Bcharre’ and Baalbeck Hermel totaling 21 seats for parliament, very much balanced in sects and confessions. The second will include Jbeil, Kesrouan, Metn, Baabda, Aley , Chouf and Beirut 1,2,3  totaling 28 very much balanced in confessions . Finally the third will include Zahle’, West Bekaa, Rashaya, Jezzine, Saida, Bint Jbeil, Zaharani, Nabatye, Tyre, Hasbaya Marjayoun totaling 19 , much about the same balance.

There will be also other limits on the age of candidates, where the Qadaa can accept candidates up to 60 years, while the national list can allow candidates up to 65. In counting the votes in the Mouhafaza a proportional system of remainder will be respected and a threshold of 7 % of total voters SUMMING UP the 3 areas will enable admission of lists/parties/entities/movements to the parliament on a national level.

In dissecting the national accord of TAEF, we all agree about the constitutional achievements of the ten sovereign points, yet we all disagree on the practical steps to express governance and guidance, and this is the front door to the third republic.

Following the general elections we need not forget to call on Beirut 1 conference for dialogue as per the constitution, and introduce true reforms paving the way for Millennial to bridge the gap with the institutions. Among these reforms are, limiting the speaker to maximum two mandates during life time, limits to the PM power in concert with the executive power harmony, reviving the option to dissolve the parliament in case of deadlock, to be introduced in tandem to the creation of the Vice president post who will be the custodian of presidential powers until a president is elected. A close time table will be set to define the defense strategy and find the formula where non state actors will be included in the state.

Time is ripe for a new mixed electoral law to be approved by Mid September and elections to be called anytime starting 02 October up to end of February the latest.

My forecast is an absolutely new parliament full of energy and dynamism, all talents for Lebanon.

Wish all candidates luck, and above all I wish success and victory to all candidates and lists running under the banner of The Lebanese Opposition.

Vinca il Migliore .

Thank You,

For reference

http://policylebanon.org/Modules/Ressources/Ressources/UploadFile/8055_24,08,YYboutrosdraftguideen.pdf

https://www.ifes.org/sites/default/files/ifes_lebanon_esb_paper030209_0.pdf

https://thinkingdice.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/strategic-white-paper/

http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Iraq%20Syria%20Lebanon/Lebanon/160-lebanon-s-self-defeating-survival-strategies.pdf

(North Lebanon seats total 28

e.g. Tripoli 4 M ( Sunni 2 Alawi 1 G Orthodox 1)  4 PR ( sunni 3 maronite 1) Total 8

Minnieh / Danniye 1 M ( Sunni)  2 PR ( Sunni)  Total 3

Akkar*      3 M ( Greek Orthodo 1 Sunni 1 Maronite 1)  4 PR ( Sunni 2 Alawite 1 Greek Orthodox 1) Total 7

Zghorta    1 M  ( Maronite 1)   2 PR ( Maronite 2 )  Total 3

Becharre     1 M ( Maronite )  1 PR ( Maronite )  Total 2

Batroun   1 M ( Maronite ) 1 PR ( Maronite)  Total 2

Koura 1 M (Greek Orthodox) 2 PR (Greek Orthodox) Total 3 )

Beirut seats total 19 divided into 9 majority system (M) and 10 proportional (PR)

District 1 will have 5 M ( Greek Catholic 1 , Armenian Orthodox 2 , Greek Orthodox 1, Maronite 1 ) , District 2 will have 2 M (  Sunnis 2),and District 3 will have 2 M ( Sunnis 2),  while the 10 Proportional to be voted on the same list/movement in the area 2 will be ( Minorities 1, Armenian Orthodox 1, Sunni 2 , Greek Orthodox 1, Armenian Catholic 1, Shiite 2 , Druze 1 , Evangelical 1).

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