A look back at Lebanon’s municipal elections
Posted by worriedlebanese on 01/06/2010
It’s finally over!!! Lebanon’s four-tiers municipal elections have come to an end. Mount Lebanon voted on May 2, then Beirut, the Beqaa and Baalbek-Hermel (on May 9), then South Lebanon and Nabatieh on May 23, and finally North Lebanon and Akkar on May 30th.
Oddly enough, every single person seems to ignore the current Lebanese administrative divisions, even the Ministry of Interior!! They all refer to the pre-1975 administrative divisions. Strange, isn’t it?
I will be writing two posts on this issue this week in which I will try to keep with the “blogging spirit”: I will posting something I wrote four weeks ago on the elections in my hamlet. I will also be sharing with you my thoughts on the dynamics behind these elections, focusing on Mount Lebanon.
But first, let’s look at what the Minister had to say about these elections:
ے963 مجلساً بلدياً و2753 مختاراُ سيحصدون ثقتكم في ربيع 2010
إنه عرسٌ جديدٌ للديمقراطية، مدعوون اليه جميعاً هذه السنة أيضاً بعدما أنجزنا سوياً السنة الماضية الانتخابات النيابية.
هو عرسٌ لأنه يتيح لنا اختيار ممثلينا الى المجالس البلدية والاختيارية بحرّية و”مساءلتهم” بالطريقة الأكثر رقياً وحضارية، ألا وهي صندوق الاقتراع.
“963 municipal councils and 2753 mukhtar will reap your trust in the spring of 2010.
It’s a new wedding for democracy that you are all invited to this year as well, one that follows our common success in last year’s parliamentary elections.
It is indeed a wedding because it allows us to choose our representatives in the municipal and mukhtar councils freely… and to hold them accountable in the most sophisticated and civilised way, that is through the ballot box”.
And what a wedding it was. Obviously not one you’d like to be invited to. Try picturing two egomaniac and dull individuals, bringing their two dysfunctional families together, with unexpected guests barging in to a ceremony organised by a mediocre wedding planner.
If there’s one positive outcome to this farce (the second electoral farce in two years), it’s the first point Ziyad Baroud stressed on in his press confrence: “Despite all the political pressure in Lebanon and the region, the Lebanese were able to assert the principle of ‘periodicty of elections’, a principle at the heart of democracy”.
Credit where credit is due, we owe the non violation of this constitutional principle to Ziyad Baroud who forced these elections on the political class (with the support of the President of the Republic) that tried to postpone these elections by linking it to electoral reforms. This didn’t prevent the Minister of Interior from starting the electoral process while the discussion on electoral reforms was ongoing.