Lebanon talks hit snag on electoral law
Lebanon's Hizbullah-led opposition on Monday rejected a proposal at Arab-mediated talks with pro-government rivals aimed at breaking a political crisis. The rebuff came after host Qatar proposed an immediate presidential vote and formation of a unity government while postponing discussion of a disputed electoral law.
In a statement issued after a meeting of its leaders, the Syria- and Iran-backed opposition refused to postpone discussion of the electoral law and said it was committed to the Arab-brokered agreement reached last week in Beirut, which led to the Doha talks.
"The Lebanese opposition stresses its adherence to... (firstly) agreeing on the representation (of parties) in the formation of a national unity government, and (secondly) to agree on a new electoral law," the statement said. "The agreement would be crowned by electing General Michel Sleiman as president as agreed."
The rival factions have agreed on the election of the army chief as president to succeed Damascus protege Emile Lahoud, whose term ended in November.
On Sunday, Qatar suggested forming a unity government in Lebanon of 30 ministers, with 13 from the parliamentary majority, 10 from the opposition and seven chosen by the newly elected president. The opposition has insisted that it wants more than a third of cabinet posts.
A Christian member of the opposition delegation told AFP earlier on Monday they were not willing to postpone debate on the electoral law, which could prove decisive in determining results of parliamentary polls due next year.