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Why protesters want Lebanon’s new government to pass a new electoral law

Protesters in Lebanon are demanding the new government to formulate a new electoral law they hope will bring independents to power and eliminate the sectarian-based system that has governed the country for decades.

BEIRUT — Following newly minted Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s formation of a new government in Lebanon on Jan. 21 after over three months of street protests, demonstrators have roundly rejected the new Cabinet as insufficiently independent over the past several weeks, pointing out that it continues to be backed by several of the country’s traditional parties.

Amid declarations of “no confidence” in the Cabinet over the last several weeks, many demonstrators have reignited calls for early parliamentary elections, ideally under the auspices of a new, revised electoral law — a key demand of the movement since its inception last year. Demonstrators and groups seeking change have suggested several proposals for such a law since mid-January in hopes of looking beyond the Cabinet and instead striking at the fundamentals of Lebanon’s sect-based party system, which many feel has fueled decades of corruption.

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