In Lebanon, abstention dominated the legislative elections

In Lebanon, abstention dominated the legislative elections

In front of the polling stations in the Haret Hreik district, only the yellow flags of Hezbollah float on this day of the Lebanese legislative elections, Sunday May 15th. In his stronghold in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the armed Shiite movement dominates.

But the presence of so many delegates from Hezbollah did not deter Riyadh and his family from attending the vote. “for change”. “We want to give a chance to the different lists”Says the 67-year-old Shiite businessman, who was born in the neighborhood but now lives between Egypt and France. “We need young and educated people who want to develop public services”His wife Lina abounds.

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They both voted for the opposition list “Baabda Change”, specifically for lawyer Wassef Haraka. They have followed the political activist’s journey since the October 2019 protest and say they are sensitive to his arguments as well as those put forward by his deputy, the former director of the French-speaking newspaper. Mashreq today Michel Helou, who knows best.

Some members of the Riad family had preferred to vote for another opposition list, but in the face of the scattering of candidates on several lists, they voted “useful”. Citizens Party [l’ancien ministre] Charbel Nahas has a clearer program that comes close to my thoughts, but Wassef Haraka’s list is the most likely to end.”Nada, a 53-year-old teacher who lives in Beirut, unfortunately.

The weight of favoritism

The opposition’s chances of winning one of 128 seats in the next assembly are already slim compared to the traditional parties. Those were booed in the street during the “revolution” (October 2019 protest), and today they are responsible for Lebanon’s economic sinking; But the electoral law is in their favour, and many voters remain attached to them “Zyme” (Community leaders), motivated by conviction or clientelism. Convinced that the elections were a foregone conclusion, many Lebanese chose to abstain. Turnout was 41% at 11 p.m., according to the Interior Ministry, down from 2018.

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In areas controlled by the Shiite tandem Hezbollah and the Amal movement – the formation of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri – the chances of the opposition are weaker. And so many candidates saw their campaigns hampered. Hezbollah supporters, Wassef Haraka, were expelled, on Sunday, from a polling station in the southern suburbs, chanting. Zionism, Zionism. Hezbollah enjoys unconditional support in this neighborhood. Defend us against Israel [l’organisation] Islamic country. It is the only party that has not been involved in corruption.”Explains Mohin Esbi, a 47-year-old trader.

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