LF denies Feltman mediation, says ties with Hariri sound

In this file photo, Jeffrey eltman leaves the Grand Serail in Beirut after visiting Prime Minister Najib Mikati in 2012. (The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: The Lebanese Forces denied Tuesday reports that former U.S.

Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman was trying to repair relations between form Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Samir Geagea over a dispute between the March 14 alliance leaders.

"The Lebanese Forces' media office affirms that this news is baseless and completely inaccurate while noting that contacts between Saad Hariri and Samir Geagea have never stopped for a single day,” a statement from the LF said.

Al-Joumhouria newspaper reported Tuesday that Feltman, who is currently the under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the U.N., was reconciling the two Lebanese leaders after their ties soured over differences on a new electoral law.

The Lebanese daily added that the dispute had been significant and almost led to the two to sever ties between the two March 14 allies.

Feltman is a controversial figure in Lebanese politics and has been criticized heavily by the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance, particularly during his term as U.S. envoy to Beirut between 2004 and 2008.

The Lebanese Forces has supported the so called Orthodox Gathering draft electoral law, which is staunchly opposed by the Future Movement.

The proposal mandates that every sect elect its own MPs based on proportional representation.

The Future Movement has argued that the adoption of such a law would deepen sectarian divisions and allow for the rise of extremists, while Geagea, along with other rival Christian political parties, maintains that the proposal is the optimal choice to secure fair representation.

In an interview aired on Kalam el-Nas Show on LBCI, Future Movement MP Nuhad Mashnouq said his party was mostly disappointed by Geagea's stance due to his insistence on the Orthodox electoral proposal.

Rifts within the opposition surfaced after the allies failed to reach consensus on a new electoral for the June 9 polls.

The Daily Star - Lebanon