Christian Politicians Struggle to Restore Christian Rights in Lebanon

The debate on the electoral law with which the legislative elections will be celebrated scheduled for next spring, sees distinctions and second thoughts emerge even among Christian leaders. During a meeting held on Friday in Bkerké, in the presence of the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al Rahi, representatives of the four main political Christian formations unanimously reaffirmed "the need to achieve an electoral law that ensures better representation for all Lebanese communities.

Cardinal Al Rahi meeting with President Gemayel,
 General Aoun And MP Frangieh

 "A generic formula that in fact represents a step backwards compared to the consensus expressed last Sunday by the same groups (Free Patriotic Movement, the Lebanese Forces, Kataeb et Marada) against the proposed law formulated by the "Orthodox Gathering." The controversial reform proposal provides to transform Lebanon into an electoral district where every citizen votes only for members belonging to their religious denomination. This perspective was supported by the Christian formations at the summit last Sunday, but then criticized by independent Christian MPs and the Lebanese President, the Maronite Christian Michel Sleiman.

Informed sources said that the Christian leaders also tackled Sleiman's declaration that the Orthodox Gathering law is unconstitutional, noting that the president had renewed this stance to Al-Rahi during a “lengthy” meeting they held on Thursday. The patriarch had reportedly responded to Suleiman's objection by saying: “The Patriarchate does not adopt the law, but we seek consensus among the Maronite leaderships.” The president then replied: “Can consensus take place over an unconstitutional issue?”

Suleiman reportedly criticized the approach on addressing electoral laws by the factions that advocated the Orthodox Gathering suggestion, wondering: “How can they vote for the government proposal and then back another draft-law? Why don't they discuss the government proposal and possible amendments to it?” he asked.

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