Following the bombing of a military bus in the Lebanese town of Tripoli on Sept. 29, the Lebanese Council of Deputies ratified a new law on Sept. 30, based on the Doha Agreement of May 22 concerning the deputy elections to be held in 2009, ending an 18-month political crisis in Lebanon.
The new law contains a number of amendments to the 1960 electoral law and ratifies “in accordance with the Doha Agreement, several amended clauses to the draft law presented by the national committee chaired by former Minister Fuad Boutros.”
The next elections will be held on a single day in all Lebanese administrative regions rather than on four consecutive Sundays as in the past. The law also stipulates the principles to be adhered to in election media campaigns in order to provide Lebanese voters more opportunity to choose their representatives freely. The elections will be supervised by a special panel. According to London-based Al-Hayat, however, the law does not stipulate several basic issues, regarding balloting by residents outside Lebanon and lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 years, which was to be implemented in 2013.
There was another series [only one event is cited] of armed operations in Lebanon on Sept. 29, one day before the law was ratified, after a Lebanese army bus carrying soldiers in the town of Tripoli was blown up killing five people, four of whom were soldiers, and wounding 28 others, mainly soldiers as well. However, observers and analysts do not think the renewed violence is linked to ratification of the new law.
The Lebanese, along with the Arab world, condemned the incident and the Arab League’s Secretary General Amru Moussa said in a press interview immediately after the incident that “there are culpable hands which do not want stability in Lebanon” and called on Lebanon’s leaders “to hold onto national reconciliation and abide by the terms of the Doha Agreement as the best course of action to thwart those who want to cause divisions.”
According to the predictions of observers in the Arab media, the Lebanese parliament’s decision will contribute to Lebanese forces regaining the equilibrium they lost and which nearly resulted in another civil war in the country.