The Maronite Statement in Full
12/5/05: The 2000 electoral law is unjust and reflects a bygone era, according to the League of Maronite Bishops. The law, they say, distorts popular representation to the extent that it negates any concept of real democracy, especially for the Christian popu
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Their Eminences the Maronite bishops have examined the current situation, particularly regarding the 2000 electoral law, which is viewed by many Lebanese, mainly the Christians, as an unjust law that cannot express their opinion and does not allow them to elect the MPs who truly represent them for the following reasons:
1.This law was drafted in well-known circumstances that we do not want to return to and was unwillingly accepted by the Lebanese, who know well the law does not reflect their opinion or choice, and they were incapable of refusing it. It is known how falsification and the buying of consciences in successive elections in Lebanon have spoiled true representation and it is impossible to go back to it now.
2.This law brings about a result that contradicts the Taif Accord, which has become the Lebanese Constitution. This Constitution stipulates parliamentary representation should be equally divided between Muslims and Christians, who each have 64 MPs.
In light of this law, the Christians can elect only 15 MPs out of 64 while the others, almost 50 MPs, are elected by Muslims, and this contradicts clearly the spirit of the Taif Accord, which stipulates "there is no legitimacy for any authority contradicting coexistence."
3.In fact, Christian MPs who are elected by Muslim blocs cannot represent Christian voters, but rather the Muslim leaders on whose lists they were elected; and they are forced to adopt their stands, not those of their Christian voters in the large district. Therefore, we favored the small districts, which allow Christians and Muslims to elect, freely and based on true knowledge, those whom they think represent them well.
4.Insistence, after a long period of stalling, on holding parliamentary elections under this unfair law is unjust. It is known Parliament has been recently used to issue a new law whenever elections were to be held, that is every four years, but this time Parliament is adopting a law the majority of Lebanese refuse.
5.Signs of disappointment, which have started to appear among the Lebanese, especially Christians, after the huge demonstration staged by the Lebanese on March 14, do not bode well for Lebanon. We urgently need consensus and cooperation to revive our country after a long period of neglect.
6.Insistence on holding parliamentary elections under this unjust law will have grave consequences we don't want and don't wish for; their signs have started to appear after the withdrawal of some figures from the electoral law, and he who has forewarned has been vindicated.
7.We urge all Christian and Muslim officials to put national interest ahead of all else, adhering to coexistence that brings together Muslims and Christians on equal footing.

**Daily Star