If there were any doubts as to how futile the debate over a new election law has become, they were dispelled when the parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, declared that he supported the formation of a parliamentary subcommittee to discuss such legislation. That’s because the body will only push the discussion into a labyrinth of recrimination, without an exit.  As usual, when it comes to altering the basis of Lebanese elections, there is much chatter and gnashing of teeth leading to stalemate, all of this ensuring that the old law will be revived. That’s not to say that the political actors in the country are stupid. Some parties have an interest in putting forth proposals they know will be rejected in order to cash in politically by accepting a substitute project later on.  


What is on the table today? Two things in particular: acceptance of the principal of proportional representation and the ultimate size of electoral districts. The government has passed a draft election law based on proportionality, with Hezbollah in the forefront. The party has calculated that proportionality would damage March 14’s prospects in several key districts, above all Beirut, whereas Hezbollah expects to lose little or no ground in areas under its control.  [Link]