This Week In Lebanon: 5/14/2022

Saturday, May 14, 2022



May 14, 2022

Scarred by Crisis, Election Newcomers Aim to Unseat Lebanon’s Elite
This election, Lebanon’s first since the October 2019 demonstrations, is the first opportunity reformists have to enact change. However, obstacles remain. Maha Yahya of the Carnegie Middle East Center noted that the requirement that voters travel to their ancestral villages to vote means that voters will come face-to-face with the establishment parties, who may view the villages as home court advantage. Political newcomers are challenging establishment parties in all of 15 of Lebanon’s electoral districts. [Reuters]


“Traditional political party affiliates have employed fear, intimidation, and in some cases violence against political newcomers pursuing change and reform. Another obstacle, as Yahya states, is the requirement that voters have to travel to their ancestral villages to vote is both unnecessarily expensive and also is a gift to those seeking to intimidate voters to support the status quo. The Interior Ministry’s inability to establish Mega Centers could have mitigated this. Wael Hachem, Chargé d’Affaires, of the Lebanese embassy in Washington reports a record 60%+ turn out in the US. This is good news for reformists. Let’s hope the people of Lebanon resist the tired tactics of the old politicians and turn out in record numbers”

-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel

UN Blames The Lebanese Government For The Financial Crisis And Urges To Change Its Course
This past Wednesday, the UN issued a report which identified the Lebanese government and Central Bank as responsible for the financial crisis and “unnecessary impoverishment” of the Lebanese people. The report both called for international support for Lebanon and urged Lebanese lawmakers to adopt needed reforms. [The 961]

“The report is clear – poverty, lack of health care, inadequate education, the dilapidated economy, and other ills of Lebanese society are a direct consequence of the failure of the ruling elite to accept and act on their role to address the needs of the people. It could not be more certain that significant reforms must occur to move the country toward recovery and rehabilitation. The process begins with a vote for change that sends a signal that the time for action begins on May 16.”

-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader

Votes, Like Elections, Matter
While thousands of Lebanese took to the streets in 2019, Sunday’s election will be their opportunity to enact real change. However, obstacles for reformists remain. How much change can one election usher in? Who is really part of the opposition? Only 15% of candidates are women, how is that reflective of change? While these obstacles remain, this election provides an opportunity for reformists to introduce the first step of incremental change. [LCPS]


“In this well-argued article, the need for action by the electorate in terms of sending clear signals to the unresponsive parliament is highlighted. The author argues that rather than expect wholesale change, it can start the tides that will ripple the ship of state in the direction it must go. It is indeed ironic that Lebanese diplomats remain largely unpaid and yet are expected to drum up support for the country overseas. His claims against the international community for not sufficiently coming to Lebanon’s aid are less credible when at least half the problem is a lack of a transparent, rule of law government in Lebanon. And I sense that there will be lessons to be learned about the voters’ lack of tolerance for the status quo from the municipal elections as well.”

-ATFL Vice President 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.