Election fever in the United States is in full swing, with campaigns closing in on their final month. In Lebanon, the stakes appear even higher, though parliamentary elections won't happen until next year. The reason: reforms to the electoral system are about to change Lebanon's political landscape and set the terms for 2013's parliamentary elections.
Two of the original political pillars of the March 14 alliance, namely former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, reconvened in Paris for the first time in over a year this week. The two appeared more reconciliatory than ever on important matters such as Lebanon's 2013 parliamenatry elections and the challenge of Hezbollah's arms.
The upcoming 2013 parliamentary elections are shaping up to be a confrontation, yet again, between a camp that's supportive of the Syrian regime, consisting of Hezbollah, Christian leader Michael Aoun and pro-Syrian groups, versus the March 14 camp, which supports Syrian protestors and calls for Lebanon's sovereignty and independence.
With parliamentary elections coming up in 2013, most politicians have started the age-old debate on what next year's electoral law will be. With little agreement on an appropriate electoral law for the country, Lebanese politicians engage in political bickering every election cycle until they finally reach a political settlement on the type of law that will be adopted.
A controversial electoral law put forward by Lebanese Christian parties last week drew the ire of the country's non-Christian communities and civil society activists, who saw it as a sectarian move. Last week, a gathering of Maronite politicians endorsed a proposal put forward by the Greek Orthodox gathering, whereby each sect would vote for its own parliamentarians nationwide.
The saga of the government formation in Lebanon may be resolved this week, as Shia militant group Hezbollah and its allies may have reached an agreement on the allotment of portfolios.