Jumblat Criticizes al-Mustaqbal over Suspension of Poll Deadlines ...

Jumblat Criticizes al-Mustaqbal over Suspension of Poll Deadlines

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat criticized al-Mustaqbal bloc for taking part in drafting a law that was approved by parliament on Wednesday to suspend deadlines applicable under the 1960 electoral law until May 19.

Those who have such allies don't need any foes, al-Mustaqbal told As Safir newspaper in remarks published Thursday.

Jumblat's National Struggle Front boycotted Wednesday's parliamentary session claiming that the suspension of the deadlines are unconstitutional.

The draft-law set the deadline for submitting nominations to three weeks before the June 16 elections date.

It also stipulates that the deadline for withdrawing candidacies is 15 days ahead of the polls, rather than 45.

The National Struggle Front boycotted the session out of its keenness on the constitution, Jumblat told As Safir, saying that the term suspension of deadlines is unconstitutional given that the 1960 law is still valid.

The Druze leader warned that parliament's endorsement of the draft-law could pave way to the adoption of the so-called Orthodox Gathering proposal or to an indefinite extension of parliaments term.

Both cases would be disastrous, he said.

The Orthodox proposal, which Jumblat totally rejects, considers Lebanon a single electoral district and calls for each sect to vote for its own MPs under a proportional representation system.

Despite Jumblat's criticism of al-Mustaqbal, the bloc's sources told As Safir that their relations were not shaken.

Al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Ammar Houri also appeased Jumblat's fears, saying the 1960 law would be brought back to life after May 19 if the rival parties failed to agree on a new vote law.

The suspension of the deadlines until May 19 should be seen as a timeframe to speed up the adoption of the new electoral law, he said.

Source www.naharnet.com