Lebanon Businessnews News

Beirut MPs support Beirut Chamber proxy rights
Withdrawal of some opposing candidates, Ghassan Belbol not yet
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The Ministry of Economy and Trade (MoET) is challenging voting by proxy, a long-held election practice in the poll for the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon (CCIABML).

A circular was published by MoET asking to change the legal framework used for the voting process at the CCIABML. Nicolas Nahas, Minister of Economy and Trade said that he based his decision after consulting with the State Shoura Council. “There is no basis for proxy voting in the Chamber’s by-laws or in common law,” he said. Nahas said that MoET is the authority of tutelage over the CCIABML.

Members of Parliament of the Future Movement Bloc representing Beirut have rejected MoET’s move. MP Mohammad Kabbani said: “The intervention of Minister Nahas, in which he refuses voting by a substitute firm or person, is unacceptable.” Mohamed Choucair, Chairman of the CCIABML said: “The Chamber has followed the same legal framework in the voting process for more than 25 years. People who are objecting today are board members who participated in past elections using the same voting-by-proxy rule.” Choucair is a candidate for reelection.

“We have information saying that voting by proxy will not be allowed this year,” said Aref Yafi, a candidate and member of a list headed by Ghassan Belbol, who is running in opposition to Choucair’s.

Information that Belbol is planning to withdraw his candidacy has been circulating for some time. Choucair said: “Belbol has not withdrawn, but others have. The election will go on without outside intervention, and we will find a solution with Minister Nahas, especially that the Ministry did not object when we submitted the election file months ago.” Minister Nahas said that he is protecting the future board from being legally challenged and the election results being nullified. In response to the position of Beirut MPs, Nahas said: “It is just politics.”

Reported by Joelle Nassar
Date Posted: Dec 23, 2013
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