Middle East

Lebanese parliament sets new date for elections

21:58, 19 October 2021
Lebanese parliament sets new date for elections Photo: Marwan Naamani/dpa/Global Look Press

The Lebanese parliament has set a new date for the country’s legislative elections as it was changed from the 8th of May to the 27th of March.

The change was voted on during a governmental meeting led by the head of the parliament Nabih Berri.

The only political group that objected to the change was “The Strong Lebanon” which is led by the son-in-law of President Michel Aoun, Gebran Bassil and has 23 seats out of 128.

It argued that in the mentioned period heavy winds are expected which might hurdle the election process. 

Another point made by “The Strong Lebanon” was that the end of May is a period when Christians will have a fast.

On the other hand the date was changed due to the fact that the end of May will be the start of the Muslim holy month Ramadan.

"Out of consideration for our compatriots, election campaigns cannot be conducted during the holy month of Ramadan," said the Chairman of the Administration and Justice Committee George Adwan.

That means that the current Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his government have only a few months left in order to strike a deal with the International Monetary Fund to receive financial aid.

After the elections Mikati’s government will function as a caretaker until the newly elected government starts working.

“God willing, the elections will be transparent and sound,” he said in a statement.

During the MP’s meeting it was also decided against the addition of six new seats for the Lebanese diaspora as well as a quota for women.

“This is a motivational quota to accustom society to vote for women. In the end we have to head towards having a women’s quota in parliament,” Future Movement party MP Mohammad Hajjar said.

These elections will be Lebanon’s first since 2019 when the economic and political crisis forced hundreds of thousands to march in the streets calling for an end of the corrupt government.

The Lebanese parliament is divided between different religions as it uses a sectarian system which was implemented to avoid civil wars.

However the system proved to be ineffective and has strengthened division rather than embrace unity. 

Following the crisis the Lebanese currency has lost over 90% of the value and with life savings being frozen in banks over two thirds of the population plunged into poverty.

The absence of foreign currency has made Lebanon unable to pay for fuel and the country keeps having total blackouts every once in a while.