The Lebanese government has passed a new draft law electoral law based on Proportional Representation (PR) yesterday, in which it divides Lebanon into 13 districts. The new draft law will have to be debated and passed by the parliament, which could make it also a totally different animal by then.
In a previous post, I concluded that Hezbollah and its M8 alliance will be the main winners from PR if Lebanon was adopted as one district. Now, the cabinet is proposing 13 districts, which could mitigate Hezbollah’s influence, but overall, they are still winning from such a proposal. Which is why Hariri and March 14 are quite vocal against PR, although I am not sure what they really want instead of it!
I am not sure what suits March14, or what law makes them win! Ironically, they might want the old 1960 law which they previously bashed to death as ‘Ghazi Kenaan Law’! Although on the opposite side, in a really funny way, as always, the Interior Minister Marwan Charbel described the new draft as a ‘white revolution’! He didn’t tell us why.
Anyway, the way it’s looking with this PR is that Future Movement cannot secure any major proportional share in Hezbollah areas, while Hezbollah can penetrate in reasonable shares in the March 14 wining districts (according the current system). So PR allows Hezbollah to be represented in the opponents’ areas, while Future Movement cannot do that.
So, based on the 13 districts which maintained the near-purity of the sectarian homogeneity, the numbers look in favour of Hezbollah. Check below or click here for a PDF page.
The electoral battle is so close between the two main sides irrespective of the law adopted. But seeing it through a non-partisan lens, the local and national sectarian politicians tend to adapt to new laws by forming new alliances that preserve their presence. The fight is always on how big the quota is, but there is always quota for everyone. And they will do their best to keep the ‘bus’ system in place where the driver gets the passengers to the destination, as soon as they get the privilege of getting on it.
The draft law is nothing near what was being promoted for it as being reformist. No high women quota, no clear fair process for expats voting or other changes that were proposed, as if anything would have made any difference to the sectarian politics that rules.
Also, in the new division, Beirut will practically be divided into the previous war-torn pattern of the Muslim West Beirut and Christian East Beirut. Sadly, it seems that’s what the all people want.
NB: for the purpose of calculating M8 & M14 shares, independents’ votes have been ignored on the basis their impact is equal on both sides. Obviously, there will be independents, and for me, the more we have of them, the merrier!
NB2: The numbers are based on 2009 elections results.