On Friday, Lebanese expats began voting ballots in Lebanese legislative elections. The vote comes after a full cabinet term of Lebanon’s pound devastation by a catastrophic financial downturn. Historically record inflation led Huge numbers of people into the streets for weeks back in 2019.
Expatriates from Lebanon residing in ten countries voted yesterday. Tomorrow, the other groups living in a further 50 states will cast their ballots. A week later, people living inside Lebanon will take to the ballots.
More than 240 thousand Lebanese residing beyond the borders have enrolled to vote in the election. As such, the number of expatriates who registered to cast their ballots has doubled compared with 2018 election.
In the midst of the financial downturn, numerous opposition parties are aiming to acquire large votes from the expatriates. However, other observers believe Lebanon’s old parties would continue to dominate following the election.
Once in a four-year process, Lebanon conducts legislative elections. Under an unstable communal power-sharing arrangement, seats are allotted to a wide range of groups. The President office is traditionally for a Maronite Christian, as per custom. The prime minister is a Sunni Muslim, whereas Shia Muslim have their share of power as the speaker of house.
A new electoral legislation permitted foreigners to participate in the election, unprecedented until 2018. The same law stated that in the 2022 vote, the parliament will host six more seats to serve the expatriate groups.
Members of house, however, refused to add the six seats under lobbying by minor political groups and foreigners. This implies that expatriates will have to choose their representatives from the already 128 seats available.
“Although I don’t believe that the new election is going to change anything, I’m going to vote … I feel it’s a responsibility. For sure, I won’t vote for the traditional political parties.” These remarks show the depth of insecure feelings by Lebanese expats.
Thousands of people have forsaken Lebanon in recent decades, transferring their talents in search of better prospects and safe tomorrow. Insecurity, pervasive corruption, and financial incompetence guided the choice for hundreds of thousands. Though there are no exact figures, several figures suggest that the number of Lebanese residing abroad surpasses the local citizens. Lebanon has a population of 6.5 million people, combining Lebanese nationals and refugees.
A failed rebellion against the status quo, the financial disaster, and the catastrophic Beirut Port explosion prompted many more people to flee the land in recent years. Discontent is at a historic level due to widespread corruption, misappropriation of funds, and a disdain for deteriorating living circumstances.
While most people conceive of the Lebanese expats as a single body, it’s important to keep in mind that they departed in different waves. Some immigrated during the civil war and may be affiliated with a conventional political party. This is while t hose recently departed are more willing to support opposition parties.
Lebanese rainbow of ethnic political parties has a considerable influence among the older Lebanese expats. They have a high popularity in nations where the diaspora has settled for decades, such as the Canada and the United States.
To change the status quo, the younger groups among the diaspora are to impact the results. Supporting new wave of candidates among the opposition groups may only be possible by these groups. By the way, both group long for a better living condition to secure and facilitate a hopeful return.