This Week In Lebanon: 3/6/2022

Sunday, March 6, 2022

March 6, 2022

The Ground is Ripe for Corruption and Clientelism in the May Parliamentary Polls, Election Monitors Say
The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) has raised red flag that the Lebanese government has not been properly preparing for a fair and free election this May. The major issue of concern is the buying of votes. This past July, a number of political parties began providing fuel to their supporters during a gas crisis. Hezbollah even brought in fuel tankers from Iran and began distributing fuel across the country in a bid to win increased support. The LADE warned that “[f]rom vaccination campaigns against the coronavirus, to distributing fuel, to distributing stationery to students at different Lebanese universities, clientelism is worsening in Lebanon.”  The LADE also warned the the Supervisory Commission on Election (SCE) is underfunded, lacking commissioners, and without a renewed mandate.  [L’Orient Today]


“The alarm bell has sounded for the upcoming parliamentary elections. The Supervisory Commission for Elections, which  monitors candidates’ compliance with campaign finance and advertisement regulations has not been properly funded to do its job nor have commission members been properly empowered. The Commission will also handle adjudication of complaints, supervising the conducting of opinion polls, promoting voter education, and accrediting election observers and paid media. The ISF charged with protecting the integrity of the election stations has yet to be adequately funded. The call by the Prime Minister in response to President Aoun’s request to establish mega centers has been rejected by the Interior Minister who says it’s too late to establish them. And embassies around the world don’t have the means to conduct  unimpeded  elections that guarantee the integrity of the diaspora vote. In spite of all that is going on now, the government must give priority attention to the empowerment of the Supervisory Commission and immediately fund those institutions authorized to carry out free and transparent elections on time. “

-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel

KSA and France to Establish Joint Support For Lebanese People
During talks between Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and the French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris, the two governments agreed on financing several humanitarian projects in Lebanon, which includes offering direct support to non-governmental organizations in the relief and public aid sectors, especially targeting hospitals and primary health care centers. [Reuters]

“Once again, Lebanon’s friends have committed to humanitarian relief projects, this time in the health sector which has been under-resourced by a government which is unable to provide public services ranging from water and sanitation to power, education and transportation. Let the Lebanese people finally recognize that the better future is not to repeat the past and move beyond sectarian politics to national and inclusive loyalties.”

-ATFL Vice President for Policy Jean AbiNader

Lebanon’s Political, Economic Elite ‘Abusing’ Country’s Banking System: US Treasury
A senior delegation of officials from the US Treasury Department, led by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Paul Ahern and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa and MENA Eric Meyer, traveled to Lebanon for a three-day visit. While there, they conveyed to Lebanese officials that the country’s elite were exploiting Lebanon’s banking system. Their official statement read that the “delegation also raised concerns about abuses within the banking system by members of the political and economic elite.” [Al Arabiya]


“Lebanon got a failing grade from the US Treasury delegation for the abuse and mismanagement of the banking sector and the country’s financial sector. It should not be a surprise that one of the recommendations is the need to investigate the investigators and the regulators who are supposed to make sure that mismanagement and corruption are discovered and punished. Lebanon’s banking sector is in need of a serious restructuring and cleansing so that the competent banks and banking officials can work on behalf of all their customers, not just those who hold the largest shares or control the government’s business. ”

-ATFL Vice President for Policy Jean AbiNader

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed 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.