• Orthodox Gathering proposition between support and opposition
  • Postponement of dialogue until further notice
  • Sheikh Assir in Kfardebian
  • Exacerbation of the Syrian refugees’ crisis
  • Mikati in KSA
  • Attack on Minister Karami in Tripoli
  • Escalatory campaign for the approval of optional civil marriage in Lebanon

January 3

  • Families of the abducted pilgrims stage a protest outside the Turkish Airlines office in downtown and end it only after the Minister of Interior promises further efforts to ensure their release.
  • Former PM Fouad Seniora denies having sent the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon a letter requesting the dismissal of Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani as claimed by the Free Patriotic Movement.
  • MP Dory Chamoun announces his candidacy for a Maronite seat in Al-Shouf Qada’a district.
  • Members of Hezbollah, Amal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) convene to discuss the electoral law.

January 4

  • On the occasion of Arbaeen (40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein), Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah urges the government to start direct negotiations with the kidnappers of the Lebanese pilgrims. Nasrallah added that Turkey, Qatar and KSA have power over the fighters in Syria and are providing them with funds and weapons, stressing his opposition to closing the borders with Syria.
  • The Cabinet convenes in Baabda and approves measures to assist Syrian refugees despite the opposition of FPM ministers and their request to close the borders with Syria. Minister of Interior and Municipalities suggests constructing camps for the refugees.
  • Following the meeting of the Change and Reform Bloc, General Michel Aoun reveals his willingness to comply with any electoral law granted that the President of the Republic reclaims some of his powers.
  • Minister of Interior and Municipalities Marwan Charbel announces that he will run for president if there was consensus over him.
  • Lebanese University contract teachers stage a sit-in at the Hadath campus demanding full-time employment.
  • Dar El-Fatwa’s media office issues a statement confirming that Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani has no intention whatsoever of extending his term as Grand Mufti.

January 5

  • President Michel Suleiman, PM Najib Mikati and MP Walid Jumblat hold a meeting at the Presidential Palace to discuss the status quo and the electoral law.
  • MP Walid Jumblat visits Cardinal Al-Rai and announces that the demolition of Beit Al-Daya’a in Breeh will pave the way for reconciliation and allow the return of Christians after 30 years of displacement.
  • Families of Islamist inmates in Roumieh prison and those of the victims and detainees of Talkalakh ambush hold a sit-in in front of PM Mikati’s residence in Tripoli.

January 8

  • A severe snow storm sweeps across Lebanon and floods streets and houses causing the deaths of 5 people and prompting a 2-day closure of schools on the 8th and 9th of January.
  • The Phalanges and the Lebanese Forces will back the Orthodox Gathering proposition if the FPM receives the approval of its allies. Otherwise, they will opt for the 50-district. Former PM Fouad Seniora reiterates his opposition to both the Orthodox Gathering proposition and the proportionality-based one.
  • Former Prime Ministers, including Fouad Seniora and current PM Najib Mikati, convene at the Grand Serail to put forward suggestions for the settlement of the Higher Islamic Council dilemma. Mikati visits Grand Mufti Qabbani later in the evening to hand him the suggestions, among which is the holding of the Council’s elections next March.
  • President Michel Suleiman postpones the dialogue session scheduled on the 7th of January without setting a new date.
  • The Committee tasked with drafting the electoral law convenes in Bkerke and agrees to approve the Orthodox Gathering proposition.

January 9

  • The parliamentary subcommittee tasked with reaching consensus over the electoral law holds its first meeting with the majority of members approving the Orthodox Gathering proposition, save the representatives of MP Walid Jumblat and the Future Movement.
  • President Michel Suleiman tells Anbaa Online that he opposes the Orthodox Gathering proposition and will challenge it at the Constitutional Council if approved.
  • Following his visit to Speaker Nabih Berri, MP Walid Jumblat reiterates his commitment to the Taif Accord and opposition to any electoral law that contradicts it.
  • STL Prosecutor calls on pre-trial judge Daniel Fransen to summon 28 more witnesses, bringing the total number of witnesses to 585.
  • Major General Jamil Sayyed visits Syrian President Bashar Assad and hands General Prosecutor Hatem Madi recordings that prove the involvement of MP Okab Sakr in financing and arming the Syrian opposition.
  • Minister of Tourism Fadi Abboud launches 50% campaign for 50 days.

January 10

  • PM Najib Mikati chairs a Cabinet session, which concludes with the approval of LBP 3 billion for those who incurred losses due to the storm, the Ashrafieh explosion and the Bab el-Tebbaneh incidents. The Cabinet also approves the distribution of the mobile revenues on the municipalities.
  • In their monthly statement, the Maronite Bishops call for the formation of a government that respects coexistence, reiterating their support of a new electoral law securing equality between Muslims and Christians.
  • Cypriot President Demetris Christofias arrives in Beirut on an official visit to discuss the dispute over maritime borders.
  • Future MPs of Akkar slam Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani describing him as a tyrannical dictator for appointing a new Mufti in Akkar.
  • The storm continues and snow falls in coastal cities.
  • MP Boutros Harb refuses the Orthodox Gathering proposition and the proportionality.
  • Middle East Airlines signs a firm contract with Airbus for 10 aircrafts at USD 1.05 billion.

January 11

  • French appeals court grants the release of a Lebanese prisoner George Ibrahim Abdallah under the condition that he be deported from France. Abdallah who had spent 29 years in prison is likely to arrive in Lebanon on Monday, January 14, 2013.
  • An explosion targets a liquor store in Sarafand.
  • MP Alain Aoun boycotts the meetings of the parliamentary subcommittee debating proposals of the electoral laws, justifying that it’s a waste of time as some refused to sign the minutes of the first meeting, which ended with the majority approving the proposition of the Orthodox Gathering.
  • Families of the abducted pilgrims stage a sit-in in front of the Qatari embassy in Beirut, urging Qatar to intervene to secure their release. Protesters fail to break into the embassy and end their sit-in following the mediation of Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.
  • March 14 MPs and Christian representatives hold a meeting at the residence of Boutros Harb and announce their rejection of the Orthodox Gathering proposition, which they believe jeopardizes the Christians and exposes Lebanon to the risk of collapse.
  • MP Michel Murr highlights from Baabda his opposition to the Orthodox proposition.
  • General Michel Aoun holds a press conference at his residence in Rabieh in the presence of Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui and Head of the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee Ibrahim Kanaan, to tackle a project suggesting the distribution of the mobile revenues standing at USD 1.2 billion to municipalities.

January 12

  • Cardinal Al-Rai chairs a meeting in Bkerke in the presence of former President Amine Gemayel, General Michel Aoun and MP Suleiman Frangieh to discuss the electoral law. The statement issued after the meeting underlines the urgency of reaching consensus over a law that secures fair representation to all parties. LF leader Samir Geagea was absent due to security reasons.
  • Michel Eddeh points out that 80% of the Maronite are abroad during the launching of the Maronite Academy.
  • MP Nadim Gemayel slams the Orthodox Gathering proposition as being made by Rustum Ghazaleh, which bothers MP Sami Gemayel.
  • A force of the Lebanese Army Intelligence breaks into the premises of the Lebanese University and shuts down the Cafeteria in a bid to curb the encroachments.

January 14

  • Advocates of Sheikh Ahmad Assir protest across Saida against the domination of weapons.
  • Court releases Maher El-Meqdad on LBP 12 million bail.
  • Future Movement MPs report that the Orthodox Gathering proposition lays the foundation for a political May 7.
  • Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil attacks the Future Movement and the Christian sponsors of treason who cover up all the schemes targeting the Christians, stressing that the Orthodox Gathering proposition is the sole option of the Free Patriotic Movement.
  • Protesters from the Phalanges Party and the National Liberal Party demonstrate outside the Syrian Embassy in Baabda, calling for the expulsion of the Syrian ambassador.

January 15

  • The parliamentary subcommittee discussing proposals of electoral laws finishes its first round of talks and files its report to Speaker Berri with a majority of 6 votes for the Orthodox Gathering proposition and 2 against it.
  • French Minister of Interior delays the release of George Ibrahim Abdallah until January 28, 2013, prompting Abdallah’s supporters stage a sit-in near the French Embassy in Beirut in protest of the decision.
  • Military Investigation Judge of Beirut Riad Abou Ghaida summons Miled Kfoury to hear his testimony.

January 16

  • President Michel Suleiman reiterates during his address to the diplomatic corps the need to find a solution for the growing numbers of Syrian refugees and calls on the Cabinet to endorse a draft electoral law for the 2013, including amendments if need be.
  • MP Akram Chehayeb suggests the alteration of the electoral system by approving the formation of a senate on sectarian basis and the election of non-sectarian Parliament, a proposition opposed by Alian Aoun, George Adwan and Sami Gemayel.
  • Head of the Lebanese Forces executive committee Sami Geagea admits that the Orthodox Gathering proposition is far from perfect, but calls on its adversaries to come up with a better alternative.
  • General Michel Aoun announces on OTV his adherence to the Orthodox Gathering proposition, accusing Jumblat of being an isolationist and daring him to reveal the funds paid to the displaced.

January 17

  • A number of MPs quote Speaker Nabih Berri saying that the Orthodox Gathering proposition buried the 1960 law, and we are seeking a consensual law.
  • MP Walid Jumblat heads for Moscow on an official visit to discuss the situation in the region and in Syria particularly.

January 18

  • The Cabinet convenes at the Presidential Palace and approves the transfer of LBP 600 million credit to the budget of the Interior Ministry for the electoral process. It also calls for consistency in discussing the amendment of the law that grants Lebanese women the right to pass down their nationality to their children and foreign husbands.
  • Speaker Nabih Berri addresses the consulate corps stressing that he is not against the Orthodox Gathering proposition and he will continue to push towards consensus.
  • Minister of Interior and Municipalities Marwan Charbel returns from Doha accompanied by the Director General of General Security Abbas Ibrahim and stresses that Qatar is concerned about the Lebanese pilgrims kidnapped in Syria and has appointed a security officer to follow up on this file.

January 19

  • The convoy of Sports and Youth Minister Faisal Karami comes under attack and gunfire results in the injury of 8 people. Former PM Omar Karami dismisses the attack on his son as being a “mistake” by armed Islamists.
  • Accompanied with the Lebanese Army Commander, President Michel Suleiman inspects UNIFIL troops in Naqoura and reiterates during his speech the need to reach an electoral law that reflects national unity instead of reinforcing sectarian divides.
  • Speaker Nabih Berri receives former PM Fouad Seniora and a Future Movement delegation to discuss the electoral law.
  • MP Walid Jumblat continues his visit to Russia and meets Russian Foreign Secretary S.V. Lavrov, stressing that the government won’t collapse and dialogue is inevitable.
  • Nidal Darwish and Khouloud Sekkarieh announce that they had wed in a civil ceremony after having removed their sects from their respective IDs according to Decision No. 60 issued by the French governor in 1936. The couple is awaiting registration of their marriage, but the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities is not responding positively.

January 21

  • President Michel Suleiman leaves for Moscow following an official invitation by the Orthodox Patriarchy.
  • A ministerial delegation chaired by PM Najib Mikati arrives in KSA to participate in the Arab Economic Summit. Mikati holds meetings with the Arab League Secretary General and the Palestinian President.
  • MP Boutros Harab suggests on Al-Jadeed TV an electoral law implying the election of 99 MPs by plurality and 29 by proportionality.
  • Protesters hurl eggs and tomatoes at the French Embassy in Beirut in demand of the release of George Ibrahim Abdallah.

January 22

  • President Michel Suleiman receives the Orthodox People’s Unity Award in Moscow.
  • On the sidelines of the Arab Economic Summit, PM Najib Mikati holds a series of meetings with the King of Jordan, the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Saud Al-Faisal and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdul Aziz Abdallah.
  • MP Marwan Hamadeh accuses Al-Akhbar’s Editor-In-Chief of threatening him.
  • Guards at the Roumieh prison thwart an attempted escape of 60 Fatah Al-Islam inmates.
  • Russia decides to evacuate its citizens from Syria through Beirut’s international airport.
  • Speaker Nabih Berri calls for electing Senate and Parliament at the same time with the former on non-sectarian basis and the latter on sectarian one.

January 23

  • PM Najib Mikati returns to Lebanon after having met Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh, a move suggesting Saudi openness towards Mikati.
  • Minister of Interior and Municipalities Marwan Charbel says that failure to approve an electoral law before the end of February will translate into a 3 to 5 month delay in the elections.
  • The Cabinet convenes at the Grand Serail and approves measures to promote security in Tripoli. PM Mikati reiterates that elections will take place as scheduled stressing that the civil marriage issue is not on the table at the moment.
  • 73 Russian nationals leave Syria through Beirut’s international airport aboard aircrafts provided by the Russian government.

January 24

  • President Michel Suleiman returns to Lebanon after having met his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
  • The parliamentary subcommittee debating the electoral law ends its meetings without reaching consensus.
  • The Union Coordination Committee stages a demonstration demanding the referral of the salary scale to Parliament and warns of escalatory steps and closure of public institutions in February.
  • PM Najib Mikati heads to Switzerland to participate in the World Economic Forum Meeting 2013 in Davos.

January 26

  • Together with around 300 proponents, Sheikh Ahmad Assir heads up to Faraya to ski and enjoy the snow during the Prophet’s birthday holiday, prompting the protest of Kfardebian’s residents who block the road to prevent him from arriving at the resort. The Internal Security Forces open the road later and Assir arrives at Faraya’s ski area where he holds prayers.
  • Hezbollah’s Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah announces that he supports the proportionality-based electoral law that adopts Lebanon as one district or the government proposition. Nasrallah adds that Hezbollah will back the Orthodox Gathering proposition if put to vote stressing that media and money are more dangerous than weapons.
  • A number of Muslim religious scholars condemn civil marriage assuring that it shall not be approved, as long as Muslims are present in Lebanon.

January 28

  • Former PM Fouad Seniora reveals that the Future Movement will come up with a new electoral proposition that addresses the concerns of all parties, highlighting that the Orthodox Gathering proposition divides the country and violates the constitution.
  • Prayers are hold in Aley for Syrian First Lieutenant Khaldoun Zeineddine who was killed in fight against the Syrian Army. MP Wiam Wahhab calls for punishing the Druze Spiritual Leader Sheikh Naim Hassan for attending the memorial service.

January 29

  • A car bomb explodes in the Southern Suburbs of Beirut.
  • Protesters express anger over the postponement of the appeal session related to the release of George Ibrahim Abdallah.
  • The Phalanges and the Lebanese Forces announce that they will attend the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committees, while the Future Movement is still undecided whether or not to participate.
  • French President Francois Hollande receives Walid Jumblat in France and the latter reiterates the need for stability and dialogue.
  • Former PM Saad Hariri holds a meeting with former President Amin Gemayyel in France.
  • Military Investigation Judge of Beirut Riad Abou Ghaida refrains from hearing the testimony of Miled Kfoury for failure to find him.
  • Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani states that any Muslim with legal or executive authority who legalizes civil marriage is deemed an apostate and an outcast from Islam.
  • MP Sami Gemayel reiterates his opposition to delaying the elections.

January 30

  • Debate heats up between President Michel Suleiman and PM Najib Mikati over civil marriage during a Cabinet session held at the Presidential Palace. The Cabinet postpones the formation of the electoral supervisory committee and decides to extend the contracts of the two mobile operators.
  • Hariri and Jumblat reiterate their commitment to the Taif Accord and opposition to the Orthodox Gathering proposition from France.
  • The Future Movement continues to boycott government activities, refusing to take part in the meeting of the Joint Parliamentary Committees.

January 31

  • PM Najib Mikati arrives in Turkey for an official visit and holds meetings with Turkish officials to discuss the issue of the Lebanese pilgrims abducted in Syria.
  • President Michel Suleiman attends a donor-conference in Kuwait aimed at collecting funds for the Syrian refugees and demands a grant of USD 375 million so that Lebanon can meet the growing needs of the Syrian refugees.
  • The session of the Joint Parliamentary Committees chaired by Nabih Berri decides to extend the work of the electoral subcommittee for 15 non-renewable days.
  • French President Francois Hollande receives former Lebanese President Amine Gemayel.
  • Former PM Saad Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri examine the status quo during a phone conversation.

February 1

  • Former PM Saad Hariri tells Kalam El-Nass that he supports civil marriage but he, personally wouldn’t marry in a civil ceremony, criticizing the Grand Mufti for his Fatwa. Hariri suggests the establishment of a senate and the preservation of Parliament on sectarian basis, reiterating his opposition to the Orthodox Gathering proposition.
  • The Higher Shia’a Islamic Council challenges civil marriage for moral, national and religious considerations.
  • The “Basmat Watan” show refrains from airing a sketch on Sheikh Ahmad Assir following threats sent to LBC.
  • Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil announces the arrival of the first Turkish power ship in one week.