Lebanon will hold its parliamentary election on May 15, the interior minister said on Monday, and not on March 27 as the Lebanese parliament recommended
“I signed a decree inviting the electoral bodies to vote for members of parliament on the following days: voting for the Lebanese residing on Lebanese territory will be on Sunday, May 15, 2022,” Bassam Mawlawi wrote on Twitter.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati also signed the decree on Tuesday and President Michel Aoun is expected to also sign the decree for the election date to be officially adopted. Aoun reportedly wanted the elections to be held on May 5 or May 8, “but if the interior minister decided to go for May 15, so be it. It won’t be a problem at all.”
The parliament had recommended that legislative elections take place on March 27 but President Michel Aoun said he would only sign a decree for them to take place in May, because his-son-in law MP Gebran Bassil predicted that the weather will be bad in March and Christians living in Mt Lebanon won’t be able to to vote .
The international community has insisted that holding parliamentary elections on time is a prerequisite for Lebanon to receive billions of dollars in loans and debt relief, two years into a severe economic crisis.
Mr Mawlawi said Lebanese living abroad will vote on either Friday, May 6 or Sunday, May 8, depending on which day falls during a weekend in their country of residence.
People working at polling stations will vote on May 12.
Last week visiting United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to supporting crisis-hit Lebanon and urged the country to hold parliamentary elections next year on time.
Guterres’s visit came as Lebanon struggles with crippling political paralysis, and an economic crisis that has caused three-quarters of its population to fall into poverty. Lebanon is struggling to control the local currency, which has lost more than 95 percent of its value in just over two years, as well as skyrocketing inflation.
Mikati said Lebanon urgently needs more aid, especially for a cash assistance programme for hundreds of thousands of families.
He also asked that the international community help to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees.
Guterres said Syrian refugees have affected Lebanon, economically, socially, and “sometimes with security”.
“Nevertheless, we saw Lebanon opening its borders, even though larger countries closed theirs, and this reflects the Lebanese generosity,” he said. Lebanon hosts about 1.5 million Syrian refugees.
THE National/ YL