Lebanon Holds Parliamentary Elections, Interior Minister Reports 41% Turnout On Sunday, May 15th, Lebanon adhered to its officially scheduled date for its 2022 Parliamentary Elections.[Reuters] As of 10:45 PM on Sunday evening, the Minister of Interior, Bassam Mawlawi, reported a nation-wide turnout of 41.04%. [L’Orient Today]
Reports of Conflict, Illicit Ballot Handling, and Inaccessibility in Background of 2022 Election According to L’Orient Today, “Multiple incidents of dispute and conflict were recorded Sunday between voters and delegates from political parties in and around polling stations across Lebanon, leaving at least one person injured.” [L’Orient Today] In a press conference, the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) issued a statement saying, “Despite these elections being long-awaited, after the popular uprisings of October 2019 and the economic crisis, they were disappointing and the process was emptied of its democratic meaning. While the government considered holding elections to be an achievement in itself, the number of violations recorded in the field does not reflect an achievement in any way.” [L’Orient Today] The civil society group is expected to release a report next week highlighting the allegations of violations against transparent and fair election practices. The Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) György Hölvényi, in a statement to the media, said, “Two thirds of the observed polling stations were not accessible for voters with reduced mobility.” [NNA]
Lebanese University Doctors Look Beyond Public Funds, Seeking Support From ‘Friendly Countries’ The Association of Full-Time Faculty at the Lebanese University (LU) publicly stated their intention to seek financial support from ‘friendly countries’ – so defined based on their histories of academic relations with Lebanon as well as the Lebanese University. Indirectly, the statement seems to be a pointed one with respect to the Lebanese government’s oversight – or lack thereof – of the public university. [The961]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Lebanese Center for Policy Studies Votes, Like Elections, Matter Fadi Nicholas Nassar
Nassar writes, “Collective inaction in the face of the complete collapse of Lebanon’s economy, the enduring state of vulnerability of the overwhelming majority of its inhabitants, and the unchecked escalation of political violence in Lebanon have torn at the country’s already fragile social contract. The nearly three-year accumulation of these elements, all with impunity, work to strengthen the existing establishment’s narrative that its rule is inevitable. Adjust to a new, impoverished, and illiberal status quo, or leave. The painful lesson of the thawra’s retreat is that Lebanon’s political establishment does not get its legitimacy from popular support—but through a complex system of violence, patronage, fear, and control over public positions and institutions. Participating in elections or boycotting them, does little to take away or add to the legitimacy of the contest, when it is the space that is being contested and the seats of power awarded that ultimately legitimize the actors who occupy them.”
Middle East Institute Lebanese Elections Part Two: The Debrief Tuesday, May 17th, 2022 | 10:00-11:00 AM EDT, 5:00-6:00 PM EET
On May 15, Lebanon goes to the polls for its first parliamentary elections since the 2019 protest movement, the financial and socio-economic collapse, and the Beirut port explosion. Join the Middle East Institute for a two-part webinar series before and after this long-awaited political milestone.
Middle East Institute’s Arts and Culture Center & Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation, in partnership with the Cheuse Center for International Writers at George Mason University Narrating the Middle East: The DC Arab Literature Festival Tuesday, May 17th, 2022 – Wednesday, May 18th, 2022
Narrating the Middle East is an exciting virtual Arab literary festival taking place on Tuesday, May 17 and Wednesday May 18, 2022. Organized by the Middle East Institute’s Arts and Culture Center (MEI) and the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF) in partnership with the The Cheuse Center for International Writers at George Mason University, the two-day virtual literary festival featuring writers and poets from the Middle East and its Diaspora is the first of its kind in the Washington, DC area.
The festival explores the work of leading and emerging Arab authors and poets and presents a wide range of Arab literary talent to American and global audiences. Some of the topics that the festival will touch upon include the realities of writing in and about the region, the challenges of publishing and translating works from the Middle East, and how to grow readership and nurture new writers.
Introduction and Opening Keynote Remarks: Rabih Alameddine May 17th, 2022 | 10:10 – 10:40 am EDT, 5:10 – 5:40 PM EET
Rabih Alameddine, Lebanon-US, Winner of the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, The Wrong End of the Telescope, 2021.
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.