ASIA/LEBANON - The elections confirm the fragmentation of the political framework. The Lebanese PMS Director: no one will be able to govern alone

Monday, 7 May 2018 middle east   oriental churches   elections   politics   geopolitics

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - The official results of the 2018 Lebanese political elections, held yesterday, Sunday 6 May, have not yet been released. But all the anticipations and partial data released by the Lebanese media seem destined to confirm and prolong the fragmentation of the Lebanese political scenario. The rumors seem to confirm the relative decline in consensus of the "Future" Sunni Party, that of Premier Saad Hariri. The strength of the Hezbollah Shiite Party and the Free Patriotic Movement, the Maronite formation founded by President Michel Aoun, seems to have been substantially confirmed, while the Lebanese Forces, a political formation led by Samir Geagea, seems to have significantly increased its seats in Parliament.
"In this shattered scenario - Maronite priest Rouphael Zgheib, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Lebanon points out - everyone needs everyone and no one can govern alone. So everything seems to push for a confirmation of the situation of balance and to perpetuate the political compromise between the major political forces that led to the election of President Michel Aoun. The most alarming element - adds Fr. Rouphael - is the strong decrease of voters, which at a national level have not reached the 50 percent threshold of those entitled to vote, confirming also the widespread distrust towards politicians, often considered being all corrupt".
Regarding statements by senior Israeli politicians on the alleged growth of Hezbollah's power (supported by Iran), the National Director of the Lebanese PMS recalls that similar statements by Israeli representatives "are not new", and that in any case "it is not true that Hezbollah will be able to control and determine everything in Lebanese politics: the Hezbollah Shiites will be able to assert their relevance on the military and weapons level, but in the political field, the game is certainly more complicated".
The Lebanese citizens who actually exercised their right to vote are more than 1 million 800 thousand, out of a total of about 3 million and 663 thousand potential voters. The 2018 Lebanese parliamentary elections are destined to renew the Parliamentary Assembly of the Land of the Cedars after almost 10 years.
The Lebanese voted according to a new electoral law, approved by Parliament last June (see Fides 17/6/17), which established a rather complicated proportional system instead of the majority, in force since 1960. Lebanon was divided into 15 constituencies, relatively homogeneous within them from a confessional point of view. The electoral law provides for a 10 percent threshold at a national level.
The new electoral system does not affect the rule - included in the Taif Agreements, with which in 1989 the end of the civil war was ratified - which states that half of the 128 deputies of the Parliament are Christians, and the other half is made up of Muslim parliamentarians - Shiites and Sunnis - and Druses. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 7/5/2018)