FPTP in Lebanon?

There has been debate about adopting first-past-the-post in Lebanon. For that matter, there has also been a debate about PR.

Quite likely there will be no change before 2013 elections. But given the news that the Romanian parliament’s attempt to change that country’s electoral system to FPTP has been ruled unconstitutional, here is another country where this system has at least been debated recently.

Apparently FPTP was used in Lebanon in 1960, before the adoption of a list-based multi-seat plurality system (in which each list must conform to the district’s pre-arranged sectarian balance among its candidates).

Lebanon

Various news reports have noted that last week’s accord regarding the Lebanese political standoff included electoral reform. One report I heard (via Mosaic; it might have been from Dubai TV, but I do not recall) referred to reinstating the electoral system from the 1960s, but with some new “special provisions” (or words to that effect) for the division of Beirut and other large districts.

I have not had time to search for more detail. Anyone out there more up to speed than I am on this?

Israeli Supreme Court rejects plea for broad probe of war

The panel of the High Court reviewing a petition from The Movement for Quality Government in Israel to demand a State Commission of Inquiry on the summer, 2006, war in Lebanon, rejected the petition in a 4-3 vote. As Haaretz reports, the Justices nonetheless criticized the government for creating a much weaker panel to review the actions leading up to and during the war, which the petitioner sought to replace with a more independent State Commission:

The High Court’s abstention does not indicate its contentment with the way in which the government made the decision, nor does it give its seal of public approval for appointing the committee…

IDF admits it targeted civilian areas with cluster bombs

I wish I could say this was a surprise. After months of claiming otherwise, there is now growing evidence that the IDF General Staff itself selected targets throughout Lebanon to be hit with cluster munitions.

The attempt to fight a war against a popular militia with air power was foolish enough. Using cluster bombs to do so is criminal. There is no other word for it. Cluster munitions are designed for their effectiveness at killing large formations of enemy troops, because each shell contains hundredes of bomblets that disperse in a wide area. Used in towns and cities, they kill civilians. This is the very opposite of the “precision” targeting the Israeli government officials claimed to be using during the summer war in Lebanon. In fact, a reserve officer states that his orders were to “flood” the areas being targeted.

“Insane and Monstrous”

What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs…”

These are the words of the head of an IDF rocket unit in the recent Israeli war in Lebanon. He also describes the use of incendiary phosphorous shells on towns, and the firing from Multiple Launch Rocket System platforms that were known to be highly inaccurate–a margin of error of up to 1,200 meters.

So much for the claims of “proportionate” force and “precision” targeting.

LaHood/Lahoud

It never would have occurred to me, but these names–that of US House Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) and Lebanese President Emil Lahoud–are variants, and reflect a “distant” family relationship. (I wonder if Joe Lahoud is also related?)


This tidbit of information is contained within a JPost article that begins:

Israel will be watching a meeting of the foreign ministers of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia scheduled for Tuesday in Cairo with “interest, but little expectation,” senior diplomatic officials said Monday.