Harb: March 8 wants to cancel polls

MP Butros Harb speaks during a press conference at his residence in Hazmieh, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: MP Butros Harb accused the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition Tuesday of seeking to cancel the upcoming parliamentary elections because of regional considerations.

“The March 8 camp is seeking to cancel the elections to plunge the country into a [political] vacuum and allow Iran and Syria to impose their authority in Lebanon,” Harb said speaking from his Hazmieh residence after a meeting with independent Christian lawmakers in the March 14 coalition.

Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for June 9, face a high risk of delay with lawmakers yet to agree on a new electoral law.

Harb also accused Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun of obstructing any possible consensus that would allow the elections to be held on time.

“The independent March 14 Christians are concerned that the political disputes over the electoral law will lead to the cancellation of the elections,” said Harb.

“What increases their concern is the objection of MP Michel Aoun, backed by Hezbollah, to any consensual draft law that would facilitate holding elections on time, and his insistence that the elections take place on the basis of the Orthodox Gathering proposal,” he added.

The Orthodox Gathering, which is backed by the country’s major four Christian parties, is opposed by President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, the Future Movement, the Progressive Socialist Party and independent Christian lawmakers in the opposition.

Its detractors argue that it would lead to further sectarian divisions in the country.

The Daily Star - Lebanon