Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/09/2022

Monday, May 9, 2022
Diaspora Vote Exceeds 2018 Turnout Three Times Over
According to Foreign Ministry Official Hadi Hachem via Reuters, the overall turnout in overseas voting was around 60% or some 130,000 people spread across 48 countries, which is roughly three times the turnout of voters in the diaspora in 2018. [Reuters] In Dubai, reports of queues up to 1 kilometer long were widely shared as the Lebanese expat community in the UAE took to the polls over the weekend. [The961]
Health Issues Lead to Postponement of Papal Visit to Lebanon In June
“Pope Francis’s planned trip to Lebanon next month has been postponed because the 85-year-old pontiff has experienced difficulty walking recently, sources said on Monday,” reports Reuters. The visit was supposed to have taken place in mid-June, tentatively around June 12th-13th. [Reuters]
Listen To The Secretary General – All Is Not Well!
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres lambasted Lebanon’s ruling elite and Hezbollah using harsh terms in his regular report to the Security Council on May 4. The Secretary General’s semi-annual report on the implementation of a 2004 Security Council resolution reiterated its two key demands that have yet to be fulfilled: the Lebanese government’s establishment of sovereignty throughout the country and the disarmament and disbandment of all Lebanese militias . . . Overseas voting took place just this past weekend, one week ahead of the national polls in Lebanon. Without exit polls, however, any indications of the results will presumably be revealed through inference, until the votes are counted after May 15 that is. There are strong indications that the Lebanese Forces (LF) in particular may repeat its strong showing of 2018 but with three times as many expatriate voters in 2022, it is well-honed speculation at this point.”
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A Rival Sits Out Lebanon’s Election. Now Hezbollah Could Fill The Void

Maya Gebeily and Laila Bassam

Gebeily and Bassam write, “High abstentions among Sunnis – as well as a fragmentation of the Sunni vote as a result of Hariri turning his back on politics – could play into the hands of Hezbollah and its allies, who collectively won 71 of 128 seats when Lebanon last voted in 2018, according to some political experts. ‘Because of what Saad Hariri did, Hezbollah now has two-thirds of the parliament within its sights,’ said Ibrahim al-Jawhari, a political analyst who served as an adviser to former prime minister Hariri, referring to the threshold that would shield the group and its allies from vetoes. Hezbollah gains would reverberate far beyond this small country of about 7 million people. Israel, Lebanon’s neighbour to the south, sees the group as a national security threat and has waged war against it in the past. Washington, London and much of Europe have classified it as a terrorist organization. Such a political shift in the movement’s favour would affirm Lebanon’s position within the regional sphere of influence of Iran, which is waging a proxy battle with Sunni arch-rival Saudi Arabia across the Middle East and is at loggerheads with the United States.”
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.