BEIRUT: After it criticized the authorities for moving too slowly on electoral reform, a local NGO slammed its exclusion from a government committee to draft a new electoral law for parliamentary elections.
Commenting in a statement on remarks made by Interior Minister Marwan Charbel Wednesday, the Civil Campaign for Electoral Reform criticized its sidelining, saying that it is comprised of 85 nongovernmental organizations and has been working to reform the electoral law since 2006.
“The Civil Campaign for Electoral Reform … condemns the minister’s decision to exclude it from the committee he formed, [which he said] includes representatives from civil society,” said the statement.
The group also questioned the decision to have an Internal Security Forces brigadier chair the committee “since the committee’s role is political, civil and technical par excellence.”
The statement denounced Charbel’s decision for the ministry to retain responsibility for running elections rather than forming an independent committee to handle the task, saying this raised doubts about the “seriousness” of reform attempts and the neutrality of those running the polls.
As for districting, the campaign said that the adoption of proportional representation required dividing Lebanon into medium-sized districts with at least 20 seats each.
“The number of seats ranges between seven and nine in districts proposed by [Charbel], which strongly weakens the effects of proportional representation,” said the statement.
The campaign called on Charbel to allow campaign representatives to participate as members in the committee, assign a qualified and experienced civilian individual to head the committee and to reconsider his position on establishing an independent committee to run elections and on districting.
The group also urged the minister to base the new electoral law on reforms put forward previously.