Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean
     

The Lebanese street can now count on thirteen MPs to make its voice heard


Written by Frédéric Dubessy on Tuesday, May 17th 2022 à 17:55 | Read 257 times


The parliamentary bloc formed by Hezbollah, the Amal movement and the Free Patriotic Current loses its majority in the Lebanese Parliament to the Lebanese Forces and its affiliates. Candidates from the protest groups won thirteen seats.


LEBANON. The final results of the parliamentary elections of Sunday 15 May 2022 in Lebanon were finally announced on Tuesday 17 May 2022. As expected the day before, with the publication of the provisional figures, the Hezbollah movement and its allies (notably Amal and the Free Patriotic Current - FPC) lost their majority in the Lebanese Parliament. They did not obtain the sixty-five seats (out of 128) necessary to ensure their control over this institution. In the last assembly, they had seventy-one deputies, they now have only fifty-eight.

It is particularly the decline of the Christian party Free Patriotic Movement (CPL) of President Michel Aoun, ally of Hezbollah since 2006, which explains this poor performance. The CPL won only seventeen seats against twenty-one in 2018 during the previous election, but gathered the largest percentage of votes of the parliamentary bloc: 13.28% (11.72% for Amal and related, 10.16% for Hezbollah).
The current Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri, from the Amal movement, also allied with Hezbollah, is expected to lose his post. His party has only fifteen seats (against 17), Hezbollah retains its thirteen deputies, all Shiites.

A real setback for the two most important people of the Lebanese state. Especially since Michel Aoun will complete his mandate in October 2022.

Thirteen candidates of the protest arrive in Parliament

Supported by Saudi Arabia, Samir Geagea's Christian right-wing Lebanese Forces (LF) party wins nineteen seats, five more than in 2018. This allows it to claim the first place of Christian parties in the country, stealing it from the CPL.

The main other lesson, apart from a declining turnout (41% against 48.68% in 2018), is the rise in power of candidates supported by protest movements. Those who have been calling since October 2019 for the removal from office of current politicians deemed incompetent and corrupt. For this first election since the social crisis, they are thirteen to enter the Parliament, achieving a percentage of 10.16%. Two of them, Elias Jarada (Greek-Orthodox) and Firas Hamdan (Druze) even managed to take a seat held by Hezbollah allies for three decades in the South Lebanon I constituency.

Their arrival could challenge the confessional system in place that assigns, by custom, the post of President of the Republic to a Maronite Christian and that of President of the National Assembly to a Shiite. The President of the Council of Ministers has always been a Sunni. With the notable exception of the appointment of Hassan Diab, a Shia, in December 2019. But, the experiment was short-lived with his forced resignation after the explosions in the port of Beirut in August 2020. Confessionalism favours dealings between established parties and leads to political impasses.

The opinion of its newcomers, who have moved from the streets to the National Assembly, will now count. On the condition that they form a bloc and thus become the third or fourth force in the Parliament, depending on future alliances. These protesters could influence the formation of the new government before playing the role of referees during debates in the legislature. 

Redistribution of the political balance

The outgoing Prime Minister, the Sunni Najib Mikati (Azm movement), should give up his seat in view of these results that redistribute the political balance. He was appointed at the end of July 2021 by President Michel Aoun to form a governmental team, following the failure of Saad Hariri for the same mission after ten months of negotiations. The latter had also called for a boycott of this election. On Tuesday 17 May 2022, Najib Mikati, who ensured the interim until the parliamentary elections, was content to dispatch the current affairs, called for the rapid formation of a new government.

The task that awaits the next President of the Council of Ministers is very heavy. Bankrupt since March 2020, and with a currency that has lost more than 90% of its value, Lebanon needs, in the shortest possible time, to carry out essential reforms to get out of its social and economic stagnation. This is the condition sine qua non repeatedly stated for months by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release aid. Discussions are continuing with the institution.

Poverty has almost doubled between 2019 and 2021, affecting 82% of the Lebanese population in 2021.

A "failed state" according to the UN

A few days ago, an expert commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, Olivier De Schutter, stated in a report that "impunity, corruption and structural inequalities have been built into a venal political and economic system designed to fail those at the bottom of the ladder, but it doesn't have to be that way. He did not hesitate to speak of a 'failed state' and to describe the political links with the banking system as 'pervasive', raising 'serious concerns about conflicts of interest in their management of the economy and people's savings'.

According to him, "the political leaders are completely out of touch with reality, including the despair they have created by destroying people's lives. He also describes Lebanon as one of the most unequal countries in the world, but the leaders seem at best unaware of this and at worst comfortable with it.

His remarks are also bitter against the Central Bank: "The conclusion of my report is that the Central Bank has led the Lebanese state to be in flagrant violation of international human rights law.

Olivier de Schutter calls on the future government to place accountability and transparency at the "heart and centre of its actions" and asks it to publicly disclose its own finances and conflicts of interest while demanding that the Central Bank does the same.

In a statement issued on Monday, May 16, 2022, the UN said that its "secretary-general looks to the new parliament to urgently adopt all laws necessary to stabilize the economy and improve governance.



In the same section
< >

   Partners









About Econostrum.info Econostrum.info is an independent media that deals with the daily economic news of the countries bordering the Mediterranean. Economic cooperation, business news by sector (Industry, Services, Transport, Environment, Society/Institutions), thematic files, airport news, airlines and shipping companies (new destinations)... are treated and analysed by a team of journalists present in the Mediterranean basin. Subscribe to Econostrum.info To be the first to know, with unlimited access to all articles. To receive the weekly newsletters and special newsletters sent as soon as our files are published. Automatically renewable subscription, but the reader keeps control of it or yearly subscription. For individuals or professionals...