As Lebanon heads to the polls, little expected to change

Published date11 May 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
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This week's parliamentary elections are the first since Lebanon sank into a deep economic crisis, as well as social and political instability in the country.

Lebanon is facing a critical situation. According to the World Bank, Lebanon is currently going through one of the world's worst economic crises since the mid-nineteenth century. Today, almost 80% of the population of Lebanon is enduring poverty, and the inflation rates have caused the Lebanese pound to lose more than 90% of its value.

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Since October 2019, many Lebanese citizens have taken to the streets to protest against the economic situation of the country, the high levels of corruption in the ruling class, and the dysfunctional performance of the fragmented government.

Also, since the last parliamentary elections held in 2018, two major events have aggravated the situation in the country: the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Beirut Port explosion in August 2020 that left more than 200 people dead, 7,000 people injured, and 300,000 people homeless, and caused $15 billion in property damage.

Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science and international affairs at the Lebanese American University, told The Media Line that the elections come at a time of high anti-government sentiment, due to the political difficulties and economic hardship.

This is reflected in the many young people who are expressing anti-establishment political views, and voicing discontent with the traditional political regime which is blamed for all the difficulties and economic failures that the country has faced, he explained.

Young people, Salamey said, "are searching for alternative candidates to cast their votes for. Meaning those candidates who are not associated with dominant traditional political parties in the country, or the political elite."

"They are looking for alternative individuals who can shift the direction of the country toward economic revival and reconstruction," he added.

Many Lebanese people have expressed hope that the situation will change due to this week's elections.

Silvia Boltuc, managing director of the SpecialEurasia geopolitical analysis platform, believes that the timing of the elections is not favorable for changing the ruling class or revolutionizing the political system, as many young people...

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