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Lebanon parliament approves new election law

[JURIST] The Lebanese Parliament [official website, in Arabic] on Monday approved a new election law as part of a peace deal between pro- and anti-Syrian groups within the country. Many of the provisions included in the law, which guarantees candidates equal airtime and imposes a 24 hour ban on media coverage and a 10 day ban on political polling before an election, were designed to permit limited media coverage of elections. There will also be a fixed limit placed on candidates' campaign expenditures, election districts will be expanded, and the vote-casting period will shortened to one day under the new law. Provisions to lower the country's voting age to 18, guarantee women parliamentary seats, and provide for absentee ballots for citizens abroad were dropped before approval. Despite the law's purported aim of modernizing the country's election protocols, critics have said it does not go far enough [Daily Star op-ed] to balance control and influence of Lebanese politics. BBC News has more. From Lebanon, the Daily Star has local coverage.

In August, Lebanon [JURIST news archive] charged [JURIST report] Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [official website; JURIST news archive] and six other officials with the 1978 disappearance of a prominent Lebanese cleric and issued warrants for their arrests. In January 2007, the Lebanese government sought to amend [JURIST report] the county's constitution [text, in French]  to allow Gen. Michel Suleiman [Xinhua report] to replace former Lebanon leader Emile Lahoud, who left office [JURIST report] at the end of his term on November 23 without a successor in place.

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