A poor Lebanon votes desperate

This Lebanon It’s like “an abusive husband.” This is how Carmen Geha sees her country. “He hits you 100 times and then says you’ve changed,” admits this latest Lebanese expat from Barcelona. Elections are held this Sunday in the Mediterranean country of approximately 7 million people, and all election posters are covered with synonyms for the word. change. “There have been so many blows that I don’t want to believe it anymore,” says the academic. Lebanese society believed in him during the unprecedented anti-sectarian protests in 2019. they are voting now first time After the onset of the economic collapse, the revolution and deadly port explosion Beirut Which plunged the country into despair in 2020.

“For the first time a non-monopoly political space by the same parties and caudillos 17 years of civil war” He draws attention to this professor from the American University of Beirut, referring to the conflict between 1975 and 1990. 103 lists to that group 1,049 candidatesNew political groups are emerging from the murmur that turned into outcries two and a half years ago in the streets of Lebanon. But dozens of independent candidates know that the political system is against them. This 128 seats It is shared equally between Christians and Muslims. Therefore, thirty years with the same faces.

a poor country

For years entire generations of Lebanese felt that politics had no place for them. “There is Lack of political and civic education “Politics in Lebanon has long been seen as a dirty game,” he explains. Jonathan Lahdo Sawti’s. in arabic, sawti It means my voice. This information platform offers details about new non-sectarian candidates and the electoral system itself. In the last elections of 2018, the only independent candidate there is a seat. “No one believes they will win a majority, but only five or ten people representing the mass interests of the people is already a significant development,” Lahdo admits to this New York newspaper.

Three quarters of Lebanese citizens below the poverty line, according to the UN. This aggressive economic crisis the country has sunk for three years devalued most local currency in 90% and deprived its citizens of medicine, fuel or electricity. “This Lebanon poorest since famine of 1919Geha remembers. “With a deliberately impoverished population, nepotism between desperate people and traditional parties,” he adds. One of the three citizens was offered bribe you registered in exchange for your vote International Transparency.

The explosion went unpunished

Added to the serious economic situation climate of impunity Intensified in August 2020. Explosion in the port of Beirut It left more than 215 dead and thousands injured. Today is about covering the destruction with election posters. The political class, which has been aware of the existence of dangerous substances for years, has been since the tragedy. obstruct the investigation to convict the criminal. As many as two former ministers, who are wanted for questioning for criminal negligence in connection with this traumatic event, are running for election.

“There is large gap between population and political class because its legitimacy does not come from the majority; It comes from foreign funds and weapons,” Geha told El Periódico de Catalunya. Sunni leader’s withdrawal Saad Hariri and his party Future Movement a political vacuum which can be used by Hezbollah. A landslide victory paramilitary groupBranded as terrorist by the United States and Europe, it would mean an even greater international isolation of Lebanon. The country has been negotiating with the International Monetary Fund for years for a rescue plan that will not come if reforms are not implemented.

political fatigue

one is waiting Low attendance According to a study conducted by oxfam. Instead, relatively high support is expected for independent candidates in some parts of the country, with 48% of those interviewed voting for them. then follow them Hezbollah. But political fatigue is rampant. He says “I don’t vote” Rashid Stamboli. This young doctor immigrated to the UK just a year ago to seek a future he could not find in his country. “I just got out a very dark place very bad things are happening and I don’t want to depend on it,” the doctor admits to this newspaper.

“I don’t care about Lebanese politics because I don’t believe it; I never felt like I could change anything in this country,” explains Istambouli. “I did it for a short time during the so-called revolution; very disappointed and since then, I haven’t felt any possibility of change in the country, or at least not now,” he admits, resigning. 250,000 people Nearly 7 million left the country. In the face of the economic collapse and the indifference of the authorities, squares and streets were emptied with shouts demanding “the fall of the regime”.

diaspora vote

In a country like Lebanon whose diaspora is predicted at least three times the resident population, their political involvement is key. They were able to vote for the first time in 2018. This time, they did it a week before their local compatriots, and the results were promising. Participation exceeded 60%. Some 130,000 Lebanese voted from abroad, tripled nearly 40,000 votes in previous elections. “There is a big difference in these elections. appetite indicator because they are more politically engaged,” Lahdo celebrates.

from inside and outside Lebanon enthusiasm for change but they realize that they will not wake up with him on this May 16th. ” the future What happens to Lebanon will not be determined by these elections,” says this Australian-born Lebanese. new political culture Agree on the importance of staying awake on the hemicycle. “We cannot put the whole burden on the independent candidates to be elected. parallel path working for reforms”Geha recalls emphasizing the importance of investigating what happened at the port.

Lots of people going to vote this Sunday empty stomach, he left the ballot box with the promise of a nice feast. Others argue for responsibility block vote To give these elections more legitimacy. However, a large part of the population will stay at home to survive for another month as they look for alternatives to travel abroad. “Despite everything that happened, I don’t think people are ready for change.”recognizes Istambouli. This Sunday will be another gray day in your new life in England.

A very fragmented opposition

This new political culture dozens of shattered new political groups not unified. They all agree on the same goal: end sectarianism between Lebanese political system. Subsequently, these oppositional groups were divided along ideological lines on almost every issue. This fragmentation adds another obstacle to their path, which contributes to the manipulation of counties to follow sectarian lines and the existence of an electoral threshold of up to 20% in some.

while opposition struggling to reach a few seats, rulers, warlordshave a fixed seat by denominational character between distribution of authority and an asset old electoral law. You also need to pay £65m, 10 times the minimum wage, to be nominated. For this reason, although the representation of women has increased compared to the last elections, 15% of female candidates are in the minority.

Source: Informacion


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