Lebanese PM urges citizens to vote in parliament polls

Beirut, May 6 (IANS) Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has urged citizens to vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

“We call on everyone to vote with integrity and freedom of conscience,” Mikati said when he inspected an operation room set by the country’s Foreign Ministry to monitor expatriates’ voting, which will start on Friday.

The elections within the Lebanese border are scheduled for May 15, reports Xinhua news agency.

The Prime Minister said that only 220,000 Lebanese expatriates registered to take part in the elections while their number is “in millions”, urging “those registered to vote massively in order to have their voices heard and to bring about change”.

A total of 718 candidates, including 118 females, are running for the elections of the 128-seat Lebanese Parliament.

Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system allocates seats for its mosaic of religious sects in its Parliament, including Sunni and Shia Muslims, various Christian denominations, and the Druze.

The president must always be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni and the Speaker of Parliament a Shia.

Lebanon is in dire need to hold parliamentary elections, which is among the many conditions imposed by the international organisations and donor countries to extend support to the crisis-hit country.

The major financial crisis has plunged over 70 per cent of the country’s population into poverty, while the Lebanese currency has lost more than 90 per cent of its value since 2019.