Lebanese leaders fear low turnout in upcoming elections


Beirut- Lebanon’s political forces fear a low turnout in the upcoming parliamentary elections on May 15, as recent opinion polls published by statistics centers have pointed to a lack of public enthusiasm over the elections.

The situation has prompted the country’s politicians to urge the voters to participate massively in order to achieve the required change.

Religious clerics, including Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rai, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian, and other prominent figures, have been repeatedly calling for a wide participation in the elections, as a first step towards addressing the deteriorating economic and social crises.

Addressing the Lebanese people on Friday ahead of Ramadan, Derian criticized what he called a “corrupt clique” in power.

He accused them of demolishing “everything that the Lebanese built in 100 years, including the judiciary and the banking sector, as well as Lebanon’s relations with Arab and international countries.”

Lebanese Forces MP Pierre Bou Assi, said he hoped that the voter turnout in Baabda constituency would reach one hundred percent, stressing that boycotting the polls was “the worst option under these circumstances.”

In turn, member of the Democratic Gathering bloc, MP Wael Abu Faour, said that the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) was facing a major electoral battle.

“We are confident that the people of Rashaya and the Western Bekaa have understood this challenge,” he stated.

A member of the Amal Movement parliamentary bloc, MP Ali Khreis, called for “a massive turnout in the elections,” which he said must constitute a referendum “to prove commitment to the principles of the Amal Movement.” Amal Movement is allied with the Iranian backed Hezbollah militia

Meanwhile, a delegation of observers and experts from the European Union met on Saturday with the Electoral Supervision Body, to discuss preparations for the elections, in line with a joint agreement between Lebanon and the EU.

Headed by Deputy Chief Observer Jaroslaw Domansky, the delegation held talks with the Supervisory Commission for Elections, led by Judge Nadim Abdel-Malik, to review the role entrusted to the EU delegation.

The turnout in the 2018 elections reached 49.2 percent across the country, with the highest percentage registered in the districts of Jbeil-Kesrouan and northern Bekaa, while the lowest was recorded in Beirut’s first constituency and Tripoli

Asharq Al-Awsat