Monday, January 19, 2009

Doreen Khoury from the Civil Campaign for Electoral Reform talks to NOW Lebanon

Doreen Khoury, coordinator of the Civil Campaign for Electoral Reform, sat down with NOW Lebanon’s Deborah Brown to discuss the electoral law the parliament passed on September 27 2008. The new electoral law is absent of many of the more controversial reforms proposed by the Boutros Commission’s draft, such as the formation of an Independent Election Commission, a pre-printed ballot and lowering the voting age to 18 from 21.

Khoury stated that it is, "really shameful is that we [Lebanon] in the Arab world are the only country apart from Syria that doesn’t use the pre-printed ballot. ...alarm bells should be going off....The reason that it was rejected was for political reasons.... And I think [that] happened because the parliamentary sessions on the electoral law were not televised. Many of the citizens missed the debate, which would have really surprised and shocked many of them. Many of the MPs were supporting this reform and other reforms, and then they voted against it. CCER had a representative in the session. But the fact that it wasn’t filmed, it wasn’t live, meant that many people missed a lot of the really contradictory and unconvincing statements that were being made by MPs against some of the reforms."

As for the setting up of the Independent Election Commission Khoury stated that because the original draft law failed in its first draft: "What replaced it is this condensed committee in the Ministry of the Interior which monitors campaign finance and the media. The problem with this committee is that it’s not independent."

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