Lebanese prepare for parliamentary elections amid challenges, especially election money and security pressure |

The election process, in its first phase, is scheduled to begin on May 6, when the Lebanese who do not reside on Lebanese territory in the Arab countries vote, and in the second phase, on May 8, when the Lebanese in other countries vote. Where Lebanese voters who do not live on Lebanese soil participate in the parliamentary elections in 58 countries. As for the residents’ elections, it will be held on the fifteenth of May.

718 candidates for the elections were divided among 103 competing lists. 118 women participated in 64 of the 103 lists. The percentage of female candidates from the Christian sects reached 58 percent of the total female candidates, compared to 42 percent of the Islamic sects.

The parliamentary elections will be held according to the proportional law and the preferential vote, as the 397,073 Lebanese voters are divided among 15 constituencies to elect 128 new delegates.

These elections are marked by the fact that they take place in the light of an unprecedented financial and economic crisis, the beginning of which was accompanied by a popular movement that demanded treatment and change. This resulted in more than 200 groups, including party groups, a number of which decided to run in the forthcoming election in lists entitled “Change”.

The “voting price” is rising as competition increases, especially as the process of buying votes is a traditional practice in Lebanon

Election money in the 2022 election plays an influential role in light of the current crisis, as the “voting price” rises as competition increases, especially as vote buying is a traditional practice during parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

The International Information Studies, Research and Statistics Company in a statement last April monitored the vote-buying movement in the 2022 election, and it was found that Beirut’s first district came in first place, with the voting price ranging from $ 100 to $ 300. . and in second place comes a constituency Kesrouan – Jbeil (in Mount Lebanon), where the sound price was recorded between 100 and 150 dollars. Voice buying is expected to show a significant increase in the coming days.

In recent weeks, security incidents have been seen involving shootings in a number of areas against the backdrop of parliamentary elections, which have prevented some candidates from gaining access to the designated seats to launch their election campaigns, or holding election rallies by their opponents. or hindered.

Ali Selim, Executive Director of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, said: “The election process faces many challenges, the first of which comes within the legal framework, where the electoral law gives privileges to first-class candidates (such as political candidates). parties and those belonging to the business class with political influence and financial resources)., allows them to distribute aid to the people, and this is what we consider to be a vote-buying process before the parliamentary election, as the economic and financial situation what the Lebanese are going through is being exploited. “

Selim pointed out that the second challenge facing the parliamentary election is “the pressure that some candidates are being subjected to, from all sides, which is hampering their access to the designated venues for election rallies and attempts to do so through violence and intimidation by to prevent opponents. ” note that “this pressure is not counteracted by intervention.” Directed by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Municipalities to protect candidates and regulations, but rather overlooked. It is expected that this pressure will increase in frequency with the upcoming election. “

Will the elections be fair and transparent?
Will the elections be fair and transparent?

He was of the opinion that the third challenge lies in the “financial constraint that the Electoral Supervision Commission faces in the matter of monitoring election spending and the media appearance of candidates, which is one of the commission’s main tasks, due to its lack of financial credits. No decisions have been issued to regulate the election spending mechanism, as the law provides that a bank account is opened for the election campaign for each candidate, provided the candidate pays money out of this account. What is currently happening is election spending outside the election campaign account. “

He pointed out that “the local authorities (the municipalities and the Union of Municipalities) publicly support some candidates in a clear violation of the electoral law, as the law stipulates in section 77 / second paragraph, which prevents local authorities from nominating candidates “And what’s happening right now is that some candidates and some parties are offering. The help is given to the local authorities, who in turn issue statements in which they thank the candidates, and that is against the law.”

He believed that “the media appearance of the candidates was bought, and therefore the media battle between the first-class candidates is limited at the expense of other candidates, and this is against the law, while the media appearance of the candidates should be free . “

Many of the electoral programs for the lists entitled “Change” emphasized the restoration of the role of the state which takes care of all citizens, the inauguration of the rule of law and institutions, the implementation of the constitution, the transition of a sectarian quota state to a civil state, strengthening the judiciary and achieving justice in the event of the Beirut port explosion, and the possession of the Lebanese state.And its legal authority is the decision of peace and war.

The election process, in its first phase, is scheduled to begin on May 6, when Lebanese who do not live on Lebanese soil in Arab countries will vote.

As for the parties against the government, their election programs have focused on limiting arms to the state, implementing international resolutions, neutralizing Lebanon and the Lebanese from conflicts and axes, emphasizing the ceasefire agreement and the National Accord Document and the implementation of extensive decentralization, while Hezbollah stressed. the importance of protecting the resistance.

Parties, political forces and civil society forces have put forward election slogans to attract voters. The 2022 slogans carried the character of challenge, warning, ability and determination to survive and change for the better, accusing others of impotence and failure.

Despite the impending date of the parliamentary elections, some of the low level of popular enthusiasm in some regions warns of the elections, due to the collapse of the confidence of many Lebanese in the candidates of the political parties, which blaming them for failure, and for causing the economic crisis and the consequent impoverishment of more than 80 percent of Lebanese, and their distrust in civil society candidates.

Banners were spread on the roads with photos of some candidates in the constituencies in which they were campaigning, and others with election slogans.

All the election campaigns in recent weeks have focused on the call for massive participation in the elections, and the tone of the election rhetoric has been raised, which was not without political tension.

Despite assurances by Lebanese officials to complete the logistical and security preparations for the election process, many citizens still doubt the possibility of renewing the legislature in light of the existing challenges.

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