Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lebanon's "Orthodox" Law

Karl reMarks ran a satire today with the headline "The Onion to Sue Lebanon for Making Its Headlines Look Reasonable."  The motive for the fictional lawsuit was a new Lebanese election law which would ban voting for people of other religions.  This is apparently a real thing:
A number of civil society activists held aprotest Tuesday in Downtown Beirut , near the parliament building to protest against the approval of the Orthodox electoral law proposal by the parliament committee.
Antoine Haddad leader of the Democratic Renewal Movement warned that the “Orthodox Gathering’s electoral proposal would drag us several centuries into the past and strip Lebanese citizens of their right to vote for a candidate of a different sect, “National News Agency quoted him as saying.
This measure, dubbed the "Orthodox Law," is apparently being touted as an alternative to having each member of parliament represent an individual constituency.  Instead, everyone would vote on a national level, with the religious groups effectively becoming the new districts.  The intent seems to be to write into law how many seats each community gets, protecting Christians in particular from losing ground within constituencies.  An interesting possible side effect is that, as in Israel, this could allow candidates of smaller political groupings to win election simply by accumulating enough votes to be in the number allotted for their sect.



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