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Voters reluctant to vote in Lebanese parliamentary election

BEIRUT, After nine years from the last parliamentary election and three extensions of the current term for security and political reasons, voters in Lebanon are finally going to the polls next Sunday, May 6, to cast their ballot amid heated campaigns to attract more than 3.6 million eligible votes.

After years of abandonment of parliamentary race, voters — despite their differences in political affiliation, age, and their background education — are supposed to be eager for this election to practice their given right to elect their representatives.

However, just days before the election, voters are still in a very different mindset in terms of enthusiasm, neglect, and even contempt for various diverse political and economic reasons.

KUNA, in this regard, witnessed views of a number of voters from a multiple Lebanese spectrums in various constituencies in Lebanon to find out their positions and views on the legislative elections of 2018.

In this context, Linda Muhanna, 35, told KUNA that she decided to boycott the elections due to the proportional system adopted in the electoral law, which “compels her to elect people who are not qualified to represent her.” The approved layout for candidates does not allow her to eliminate names from the list or choose different candidates, but to cast her vote for a full list only, which she considered it “unfair.” Salam Rashid, 52, told KUNA that she do not care much about the election.

She added that “whether she participated or not participate, the result is the restoration of the current political class without any change; therefore, the same approach is taken and the country is plunged into more chaos, without real progress toward providing suitable services to citizens or job opportunities, and the displacement of young people abroad in search of work.” Khaled, 46, who declined to provide his full name, did not hide his intention to benefit from the election period and campaigns to secure financial returns and various services through which some candidates try to win additional votes.

Khaled added that “he would honestly sell his vote for who financial buy his vote, but during the actual casting of his vote he will elect who represent his political views more accurately,” noting that such election and its outcome would not change the political or the economic condition in the country.

Meanwhile, Samir Qassim, 41, expressed his commitment to vote for a bloc, which would be chosen by his party affiliation and despite his preservations on government performance and his party participation, and elected candidate by the party.

Samir added that casting a ballot for the benefit of the party is considered agreement to the party’s policies and its stand in the country, noting that electing many candidates that belong to the party will empower the party politically.

This year’s election will allow a huge portion of the Lebanese population to engage in the parliamentary election for the first time in the country’s history, due to the previously extended period of the last parliament of 2013, and the people who turned 21 years old since that last election.

Estimates put the number of eligible voters for this year election is around half a million, with an age average of 21 until 30 years old.

On another front, Imas Hasan, 29, told KUNA that he is reluctant to vote next Sunday, due to lack of confidence in the traditional parties participating.

However, he added this year’s election is different because of the huge number of participants in all constituencies, including civil society’s affiliates as an alternative to traditional parties.

For her part, Lama Qassim, 26, said casting her vote is a national duty for each Lebanese citizens, including electing their representatives based on a democratically adopted system.

Nasreen Hmoud, 22, expressed hopes that the upcoming election bring the needed change, even it is a small change for the political and parliamentary life in this country.

Lebanon will witness next Sunday a parliamentary elections for the first time since 2009, and 77 bloc electoral lists will be competing to win 128 seats in the House of Representatives, which is the total number of seats in the Lebanese parliament.

The electoral law, which is based on Lebanon’s proportional system, is divided into 15 constituencies.

The law allows Lebanese expatriates to vote in Lebanese embassies and consulates abroad after registering on the ballot boxes for the first time in the country’s history.

Source: Kuwait News Agency