The date of the parliamentary elections is approaching, however, a number of Lebanese have not decided to choose their participation in this democratic process or the party they will vote for, as their percentage has reached 40 percent, according to a poll conducted by “Information International”.
Turnout in the last parliamentary elections reached 49.20 percent, compared with 54 percent in 2009, and today voices are growing urging Lebanese not to boycott, especially by the forces of change that say the ruling class is benefiting from all dissatisfaction and dissatisfaction and disappointment with what the country has achieved at the same time refuses to vote.
The current elections are crucial because they are the first to take place after the October 17 revolution and the new faces that emerged from it. I decided to enter the democratic process with lists in different Lebanese regions and because it precedes the election of the President. of the Republic next October, in addition will take place without the participation of the “Future Movement” which its leader, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, decided to suspend his political work.
Everyone is waiting for the election to take place initially after the high level of mobile security tensions in the country and the consequences of the sinking of the ship of illegal immigrants in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, especially with the survivors who accuse the army of being behind the disaster. , in addition to waiting for the guidance of those who have not yet decided, as their decision depends on what International Information researcher Muhammad Shams Al-Din told the Al-Hurra website, “The alliances that will happen and the money that will to be paid, as the money will have a big impact on these elections ”.
Reasons for lack of “enthusiasm”
Noha Saeed (from Tripoli) is one of those who favor the election boycott, because from her point of view, no one will be able to save Lebanon from its collapse and the quagmire in which it finds itself. “Immigrants, as for those who claim change, their promises are free in reality.”
She added, “I am not convinced that this election will change anything, as this political class will continue to rule. Lebanon needs a regional and international solution. The issue is not reduced to a demonstration or a revolution. It has an ingrained authority.” “and armed. that can not be shaken either by voice or by words and it seems that the time has not come yet, so most likely I will not vote in this election.”
The number of candidates for the election reached 1044, with the closure of nominations in mid-March, but this number decreased after the withdrawal of one number of candidates and the fall of the candidacy of 284 others, as no list joined. while the number of registered lists reached 103 with a significant increase from 2018. Then 77 lists.
Election expert Kamal Feghali stressed that “between 40 and 45 percent of Sunnis who participated in the 2018 elections, whose percentage at that time was 60 percent, this time will boycott the elections, while the percentage of Christians who participated in the last elections. ranged from 35 to 40 percent. Now their percentage will reach 15 percent, as is the case with the unitary Druze, while the Shiites will not participate in the elections up to ten percent.
The number of final voters at the time of the freezing of the final lists on February 1st was 3,967,507, while the final number of eligible voters abroad reached 225,624.
In an interview with Al-Hurra, Feghali stressed that the percentage of boycotts varies from one region to another. “In Tripoli, for example, the percentage of those who will boycott the elections is 45 percent, while in Minieh al-Dinniyeh, the percentage varies between 10 and 15 percent.”
What is certain, Feghali said, is that turnout will decrease in all regions due to the economic and social situation, in addition to the commitment of some Sunnis to the decision of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, explaining that “Lebanese retain authority and the politicians responsible for the collapse at a time when the convincing alternative from the forces of revolution and change did not seem to choose it. “
For his part, writer and journalist Majd Bou Mujahid stressed that “40% of Lebanese who do not decide whether or not to run in the election and who to vote for is a clear expression of lack of enthusiasm and interest. sufficient for electoral merits ”.
There are several reasons, according to Bou Mujahid, “related in one way or another to the laziness that still reduces the electoral scene to popular jokes, starting with the need of voters to get acquainted with the lists that recorded unprecedented figures in the majority . of the districts, the most important of which are the districts “north second” with 11 lists, “Beirut second” with 10 lists, “North First” and “Bekaa One” with 8 lists, and 5 districts registered 7 lists.
In an interview with Al-Hurra, Bou Mujahid said that “it is impossible to ignore the main reasons that demand from the voters to slow down, including the concern for privacy in the approach of democratic law and the preference not to express their opinion except in the ballot box, where they choose the box “do not know” or “do not know”. I decide “in polls to hold their opinion. “This is a natural issue, based on the principle of secrecy of the ballot as one of the pillars of electoral democracy.”
On the other hand, he noted that “some voters may refrain from expressing their electoral access to polling stations for fear of pressure they may encounter and be careful to express their opinion publicly, even if the forms are a random example and do not include A clear example is the harassment of a number of candidates. opposition list in the area, and prevented them from reaching the place of celebration, in a way that opposes the freedom of assembly provided for in the constitution.
He noted that “a number of opposition candidates and changing lists, especially in southern Lebanon’s constituencies and the presence of Hezbollah, openly express the challenges they face, such as limiting delegates and voters who question the opposition.” and some of them quietly express support during their election visits to avoid any kind of harassment.
Bou Mujahid does not ignore additional reasons that prevent segments of the electorate from deciding their approach to how to deal with the right to vote, including “the disappointment of some of them as a result of economic conditions and their interest in providing for their living needs” , which is a priority in terms of providing daily food, but this should be an incentive to participate in the industry.The decision to get out of the current reality through elections instead of turning to the delivery option and not “in elections, which reflects dangerous consequences and consequences for the future of Lebanon.”
While the other reason leading to the lack of electoral enthusiasm by some, is due to “the skepticism of some voters, albeit at low levels compared to previous weeks, that the election will inevitably take place in time.”
Disadvantages of the boycott
“Again our silence at the dawn of Beirut.” A large billboard was erected in the center of the Lebanese capital showing the impact of the election boycott on the results the ballot boxes will produce, as signs were spread on the new road. calling for a boycott and affirming respect for Hariri’s line and approach.
The daughter of the new road (the fortress of the Movement of the Future) Suha al-Rawas will boycott the elections and the issue has been resolved for her, as she emphasized that “we promised the martyr Rafik Hariri that we will be loyal and today he has come time to prove this to his son, so how to give the vote to someone else, we will not betray our leader, who did Impossible is for Beirut and Lebanon.
Al-Rawas considered that “the candidates of the Forces of Change have proved that their concern is the chair, not the seat, and the proof is that they are not united by a list in each department”, saying: “What can they do? “If they get to Parliament, will they give us electricity, water, medicine and hospitalization, will unemployment disappear and will Lebanon return? Eastern Switzerland, of course not, the situation will remain as it is.”
For his part, Haitham Manna (from Tire in southern Lebanon) has not yet made his decision, he is not convinced about the candidates who present themselves as an alternative to power, emphasizing: “If it is impossible to give more my vote. to any party or leader, it does not mean that I am convinced. “With the opposition lists there are no clear political programs, words and promises similar to those we have heard before from the elected representatives and they have disappointed us. “I think I will not waste any more time and I will go to the ballot box to contribute to the arrival of people who will not even answer my call if they win the election.”
Election expert Assem Shea divided 40% of the information of “Information International” into three categories, the first category includes former election boycotters, who continue to hold their position for the elections to be held on the 15th. of next month. and in the second category belong those who voted for the parties.They took the decision to boycott after they came to the conviction that the party they supported did not fulfill their ambitions and aspirations and did not protect their money in the banks.As for the third. category, includes a large part of the “Future Movement” audience that is committed to its president’s decision to boycott the parliamentary elections.
And in reflecting the boycott of a large percentage of Lebanese in the democratic process, Shea considered that “the issue depends on the boycott group, because the faction that boycotted the elections previously held in its position will reflect positively on the decision. class, while the boycott of those who voted for the parties will certainly reflect negatively on those in power now. As for the boycott of those belonging to the Movement of the Future, it is likely that their decision will have a negative impact on it. the whole political class.
He added, “In order for the three leaderships: the Maronite represented by the presidency, the Sunnis represented by the cabinet and the Shiites represented by parliament, to achieve the statute and the so-called formation of a government of national reconciliation, they must first take a bloc with weight in Parliament, therefore the three leaders do not get a good number.
Shea warned that political parties ‘electoral machines continue to create problems on the ground to reduce their opponents’ turnout. “What frightens the ruling parties in Lebanon is the high turnout as a result of losing a number of their audiences, to remain representing the illusory majority in Parliament.”
Bou Mujahid also touched on the negativity caused by disinterest in electoral merits and the tendency not to participate in the voting process or reckless handling of elections.
He considered the low election results to be a great warning and concern because they benefit from Hezbollah-backed lists in constituencies where his political opponents participate, including, for example, “Second Beirut”, Tripoli, Akkar, Zahle and Sidon, especially as opinion polls clearly show that the percentage of electoral boycotts, the largest to date, is more closely linked to anti-Hezbollah environments, which confirms the need for voters affiliated with the former March 14 forces to go to polling stations at a time when the aim is to change the current parliamentary majority.
Bou Mujahid corrected the meaning of voting with a white paper, “which leads to an increase in the electoral coefficient and is not considered feasible or effective, which means that voting for a certain list remains a better option than a white paper “.