06/01/2006, 00.00
LEBANON
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Geagea: Bid to resolve Lahoud, Hezbollah issues on 8 June

by Youssef Hourany

Card. Sfeir expressed hope that the new electoral law will allow for more representative voting. According to press speculation, the law will provide for 77 MPs elected by a majority and 51 on a proportional basis.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Lebanon's political scenario is as sensitive as ever with the upcoming stage of Inter-Lebanese Dialogue on 8 June set to discuss crucial topics like the future of the President of the Republic, Emile Lahoud, and the disarmament of Hezbollah. This is what the head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, told AsiaNews while the Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, has again expressed his support for new political elections, to be held under a new electoral law that is more equal than the one drawn up in 2000 under Syrian occupation.

Yesterday, Wednesday 31 May, meanwhile, the representative of Lebanon to the United Nations, Caroline Ziade, delivered a written protest to the Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, about "the latest aggression of Israel against defenceless and peaceful citizens" in different Lebanese localities, which caused death and severe material damage, including the destruction of infrastructure. The Israeli aggression sprung from its battle with Palestinian militias. These military clashes have prompted some Lebanese politicians, especially the 14 March movement, to insist on the necessity of disarming the Palestinians and inserting the men of the Lebanese resistance, partisans of the Party of God, into the Lebanese army.  

This will be one of the hot topics in resumed Inter-Lebanese dialogue, as the leader of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, told AsiaNews. He said: "During the next round of dialogue, set for 8 June, the leader of the Amal movement, Nabih Berri, will look into the future of the presidency of the Republic and the disarmament of the Party of God". Geagea also applauded the courage of Lebanese MPs for voting against the request for extradition of two Lebanese MPs presented by Syria: Walid Joumblatt and Marwan Hamade. He described the vote by the MPs of a General Michel Aoun as "loyal to the history of General Aoun".

Speaking about the future of the Lebanese Forces, Geagea exhorted all to follow the Patriarch Sfeir, the only "leader" who is not self-seeking but who promotes others' interests instead.

The Maronite patriarch has reiterated the need to overcome past sorrows and expressed hope for a fresh reading of the history of the civil war that destroyed the physiognomy of Lebanon. The patriarch also appealed to youth to return to their country and to make a contribution notwithstanding the problems.

Cardinal Sfeir criticized those Lebanese politicians who thirsted for power and urged leaders to reach agreement about the future of the presidency of the Republic and to concur about the formation of the Supreme Court Council. As for the latest news about the imminent presentation of a new electoral law, Patriarch Sfeir said he hoped more representative legislative elections would be organized. He criticized once again the 2000 law called the "The Ghazi Kanaan Law", after the then Syrian Minister.

According to press speculation, the new law will provide for a mixed system to which 77 MPs will be elected by majority and 51 on a proportional basis.

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