0145 GMT August 09, 2022
IRAN DAILY: Why is the Lebanese parliamentary election so important?
EDRISI: Lebanon’s political system is centered on its parliament and parliamentary elections. In addition to the legislative monopoly, which is in the hands of parliament, the president and the prime minister are also elected by parliament. Therefore, parliamentary elections in Lebanon have always been sensitive, but the latest one became even more crucial because the economic and political situation has been volatile in the last few years. The national currency has depreciated sharply. The central bank has almost gone belly-up, and international aid has not been given Lebanon for a year or so. All this has caused a great deal of concern and dissatisfaction among the Lebanese and fueled instability in the country.
Now, various parties were trying to secure as many seats as possible in parliament so that they could implement their own plans and strategies in order to bring the country out of the crisis. Accordingly, political parties opposed to Hezbollah were as active as before and spent a lot of money to defeat it. Their main slogan, as in the past, was to disarm the resistance movement, claiming calm would not be restored to Lebanon as long as Hezbollah possessed weapons. They also took advantage of the people’s dissatisfaction with the unfavorable economic situation and political instability and, in fact, portrayed the Hezbollah as one of the causes of this political instability.
On the other hand, the resistance movements, which include Hezbollah, Amal Party, and the March 8 Alliance, were also actively involved in this election and sought to form a unified and cohesive government that could firmly overcome the current problems and bring back political and economic order and stability. The resistance was trying to gain more seats in order to have the upper hand in forming a government.
In the days leading up to the election there were concerns about a low turnout. Why did this reluctance arise among the Lebanese and who will benefit from a low turnout?
Naturally, the political events of the past few years have left some Lebanese people worried, dissatisfied and perhaps disappointed. In particular, the dire economic situation and the resignation of Saad Hariri from the Future Movement Party left Sunnis skeptical about turning out in the election. In the last weeks, the mufti of the country tried hard to encourage the people, especially the Sunnis, to participate in the election because they knew that a low voter turnout by the Sunnis would be in the interest of their rival, namely, the Hezbollah. Therefore, they tried to push a higher turnout in the last days. On the other hand, in the run up to the election, Hezbollah and the resistance movement, specifically Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, encouraged the people to participate in the election.
Has this economic instability persuaded the countries influential in Lebanon to support the formation of a unified government, or do you think that the destructive intervention of certain countries will continue after the election?
The intervention of some foreign countries in Lebanon is aimed at removing Hezbollah from political power, or reducing its power. However, it seems that Hezbollah has now presented itself as a reality in a way that even domestic and foreign currents have accepted it in the Lebanese political spectrum, and they must come to terms with this reality. On the other hand, Lebanon’s stability is important for all the countries influential in Lebanon, including France, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Iran, because if Lebanon is destabilized, or civil war breaks out, it would be dangerous for the Lebanese people, these influential countries and the whole region. I think everyone has come to a conclusion that Lebanon must be stable, and that stability comes out of the ballot box. The people’s vote can be decisive, no matter which party they tend to. And foreign governments have no choice but to accept a Lebanon with a stable government.