Lebanese expats start voting in parliamentary elections

Today, Friday, the Lebanese in some expatriate countries have begun voting in parliamentary elections to be held inside the country in the middle of this month, for the benefit that analysts do not expect will change the general political landscape in light of an unprecedented economic situation. collapse.

This is the second time that expatriates entitled to vote have been able to participate in the election of the 128 Members of Parliament. The elections will be held abroad in two shifts, Friday in nine Arab countries e in Iran, while expats will vote next Sunday in other 48 countries.

The parliamentary elections are the prime after a massive popular uprising in Lebanon in the autumn of 2019, which called for the resignation of the political class and held it responsible for the financial and economic deterioration and corruption affecting state institutions. Many see the election as an opportunity to challenge authority, despite realizing that the possibilities of the opposition and independent candidates to make little political change in a country based on sectarian quotas and exhausted by the accumulation of crises.

According to the National News Agency, the polling stations were opened at seven in the morning, Beirut time. Lebanese abroad can vote in 592 polling stations spread over 205 polling stations, most of which are located in Lebanese embassies and diplomatic missions.

According to data from the Foreign Ministry, over 225 thousand voters have registered their names. About 50,000 expats voted in the 2018 elections, out of a total of nearly 90,000 registered at the time. Despite the increase in the number of registered expatriates since the last election, the number is considered to be very small compared to the presence of millions of Lebanese around the world.

In the wake of the economic collapse and the deterioration of the quality of life in the country, many families, recent graduates, doctors, nurses and others have chosen to emigrate in the last two years, in search of new beginnings, after having lost hope in change and responsibility. Independent and opposition candidates pin their hopes on their votes.

According to a report released this month by the Arab Reform Initiative, a Paris-based research organization, in 2018 6% of voters abroad chose candidates on the opposition lists, while 94% chose candidates from parties. traditional politicians.

Twenty-four hours before the start of the elections, Lebanon entered in an “electoral silence”, after which media campaigns and electoral declarations are prohibited.

At the end of the voting, the ballot boxes, after having been sealed with red wax, are transported by a private shipping company in Lebanon to be deposited with the Central Bank, provided they are sorted and votes are counted at the end of the elections on May 15.

After pinning hopes that the Lebanese resentment at the polls would translate in favor of the opposition lists and the new groups that emerged from the popular uprising, experts believe that the inexperience of the authority’s opponents, their weak financial capacities and their inability to stand for joint elections is in the interest of traditional parties.

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