Lebanon: Reform group: Electoral law keeps women marginalized

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Lebanon: Reform group: Electoral law keeps women marginalized

A civil society group criticized the Cabinet’s approval of a new electoral law Wednesday, calling the draft legislation a “show” and warning of protests if the proposal moves forward in its current form.

The Civil Campaign for Electoral Reform held a news conference at the UNESCO Palace to highlight the parts of the law they took issue with, including a new gender quota and unchanged voting age.

“These reforms are artificial and distorted, aimed to protect the Lebanese alliances of March 8 and 14, and not to protect the rights of the Lebanese citizens or to move the country to a new democratic political era,” said Joumana Merhi, the head of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, which is part of CCER.

The Cabinet endorsed a new electoral law Tuesday for the 2013 parliamentary elections. The law would create a proportional instead of a majoritarian system and would divide Lebanon into 13 electoral districts. The law also removes a prohibition on military members participating in elections, creates a new expatriate voting system and sets a 10-percent gender quota for women in Parliament.

Read the complete story at The Daily Star, published 9 August 2012.
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