Lebanon Parliamentary Polls: High Number of Candidates, Absence of Electoral Campaigns

Lebanon Parliamentary Polls: High Number of Candidates, Absence of Electoral Campaigns

Monday, 12 February, 2018 - 07:30
A Lebanese woman casts her vote at a polling station during the municipal elections in Beirut, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. (AP/Hassan Ammar)
Beirut - Youssef Diab
Lebanese candidates planning to run for the parliamentary elections in Lebanon, expected next May, were eagerly waiting for the Interior Ministry to officially open the candidate registry last February 5 to prepare their lists and kick off the electoral battle.

As Lebanon’s parliamentary elections have been postponed since 2013, hundreds of candidates and tens of lists plan to enter the elections.

However, their enthusiasm comes in absence of any electoral campaign that should draw each list’s policy during the upcoming four years, if it wins the vote.

Legal and constitutional expert, former MP Salah Honein told Asharq Al-Awsat that the absence of electoral programs was not related to the electoral system, as much as being linked to the candidates’ lack of seriousness and the absence of adequate campaigns to be presented to the voters.

“Elections in Lebanon are not based on a clear scientific, ideological and political track, as much as being founded on the absence of real awareness, which justifies why several candidates disregard presenting their electoral programs and plans, based on which they will be later held accountable,” Honein said.

Electoral expert Abdo Saad asserted to Asharq Al-Awsat that the electoral program is the permanent absent factor from the minds of candidates.

“No candidate or political party has ever presented a political program while running for elections in Lebanon because voters do not hold those candidates accountable for their actions, but rather base their judgments on political and religious dependence,” Saad said.

Last Monday, the Interior Ministry officially opened the candidate registry for this year's elections based on a proportional voting law never used before in Lebanon.

Several observers bet on the new law to produce a certain change, even if minor, in the outcome of the vote.

However, Saad ruled out that the new proportional law would allow a real change in the weight of political forces.

“Even if the current law is based on a proportional system, it remains disfigured. The change will only touch the names of some candidates, while the political practices will remain unchanged,” Saad explained.

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