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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Lebanon’s vote is being seen as a last chance in a crisis-stricken country

BEIRUT ( Associated Press) – In Lebanese households, it is likely that one or more family members are planning to immigrate – if they can get a passport. Demand is high but the insolvent government has not paid the contracting company to issue or renew the documents.

Lebanese spend their days in banks, waiting to see how little they will be allowed to withdraw for the month. They install batteries and solar panels at great cost so that their family can survive the scorching summer months without electricity from grid.

They hunt for medicine and fuelAnd worry about securing the next meal for your kids.

It is an economic downturn and Sunday’s parliament elections are seen as the last opportunity to reverse course and punish the current crop of politicians who have landed the Mediterranean nation.

Instead, a pervasive sense of apathy and pessimism prevails, with most observers agreeing the vote is unlikely to make much difference.,

“Who should I vote for? Those who stole my money, looted the country and exploded Beirut? Or the nobles who can’t agree on anything?” Said Sameer Fahad, a schoolteacher whose comfortable income of about $3,400 a month now equals $200.

He says that he will stay at home on election day.

It is the first vote since the October 2019 eruption in Lebanon, which has sparked widespread anti-government protests against a corrupt ruling class since the country’s 15-year civil war ended in 1990.

It is also the first election since a massive explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020 that killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed parts of the Lebanese capital. The blaze, which was widely blamed on negligence, was set off by hundreds of tons of poorly stored ammonium nitrate that ignited in a port warehouse after the facility caught fire.

Almost two years later, still no answer What caused the highly explosive material to ignite, or why was it kept there for years. The judicial inquiry has been suspended for months amid a flurry of legal challenges by politicians seeking to block the investigation.

Today, huge billboards and posters of candidates still line the highway along the ruined port – a scathing sign of how political parties still throw money while the country is bankrupt. At least two politicians wanted in connection with the blast are running for parliament.

Michelle Moore, the son of a former defense minister and grandson of a long-time powerful parliamentarian and minister, is also running for a seat in the assembly – though she acknowledged the election’s seeming futility. He said he did not release an election schedule because he “didn’t want to deceive the people by telling me that I would do this and that” – promises he might not be able to keep.

“It seems almost impossible to imagine more turnout in Lebanon – and yet this seems to be the most likely outcome,” wrote Beirut analyst and Century International Fellow Sam Heller.

Schoolteacher Fahad believes it is futile to expect a system change based on communalism and mass patronage, which he said is “administered by an infiltrating mafia.”

“Elections don’t change anything, it’s all a joke and they are all coming back whether we like it or not,” the 54-year-old said.

While he was staying at home, he said that other members of his family plan to vote for the Christian Lebanese Forces, a right-wing Christian party believed to be receiving financial aid from Saudi Arabia from the civil war.

Some believe that the party is best suited for the Shia Hezbollah group, which dominates politics in Lebanon. Hezbollah has a current parliamentary majority with its allies, including the rival Christian faction of the Lebanese forces founded by President Michel Aoun.

Heavily armed and backed by Iran, Hezbollah is expected to retain or possibly boost that majority in Sunday’s vote, possibly a void on the Sunni leadership scene after former prime minister Saad Hariri exited politics last year. likely to benefit from.

Many have traditionally chosen candidates on the basis of family, communal or regional ties.And beware of newcomers, they fear they will be powerless to stand up to strong politicians.

Lebanese parties have long relied on a system that encourages voters to vote in exchange for favor and personal gain. Political parties offer security, aid, medical services and other needs – if you vote for them.

“They have the material resources they need to patronize and mobilize voters. And those voters, in the midst of Lebanon’s economic collapse, are even more dependent on the clientele generosity of politicians to survive,” Heller wrote.

Many argue that people should vote for anyone outside the current ruling bloc if there is any hope of change and reform in Lebanon.

“What else should they do to us before we all vote against them?” Posted to Paul Nagier, father of one of the youngest victims of the Beirut port blast.

Lebanon’s death is shocking. In just two and a half years, most of the once middle-income population has plunged into poverty, the national currency has collapsed, and foreign reserves have dried up. The World Bank described the crisis as the world’s worst in more than a century.

Thousands of people have left the countryIncluding nurses, professors, doctors and engineers. Dozens of people were drowned in the sea last month after a boat carrying around 60 migrants capsized ashore.

“Today the country stands as a ‘failed state’,” Olivier de Shooter, the UN special envoy on extreme poverty and human rights, said in a report published this week after a visit to Lebanon. He said the country’s “political leadership is completely out of touch with reality.”

Many people say that they are sick of the political class but they see no alternative.

“People are in survival mode and this concern is greater than any other,” said Maha Yahya, director of the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center. There is no serious opposition capable of laying out a roadmap for redemption.

“This may explain why many people would vote for the same political class,” he said, adding that the election could bring some changes in some parliamentary seats – but not the kind of change people really need.

Some newly formed political advocacy groups are trying to persuade people to believe in the process and vote.

“It’s not a very difficult choice, we’re dying a slow death,” said Diana Menim, candidate of the Kuluna Irada Advocacy Group, recently speaking on a podcast. “This time, give someone new a chance.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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