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Sunday, October 02 2022

Lebanese President vows to hold transparent, free polls

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Beirut: Lebanese President Michel Aoun vowed has vowed that the May 15 parliamentary polls will be conducted in a transparent and free manner.

Aoun made remarks during his meeting with a delegation from the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) at the Baabda Palace, reports Xinhua news agency.

“All measures have been taken to conduct the electoral process in an atmosphere of transparency, freedom and democratic competition,” Aoun was quoted as saying.

Lebanon is a member of the OIF, a Paris-based organization established to facilitate cooperation among its members, most of which were French-speaking countries or regions.

Aoun said that the OIF delegation’s visit is a proof of the organisation’s firm belief in Lebanon’s respect for democracy.

Alda Greoli, head of the OIF delegation, thanked Aoun for the country’s cooperation in facilitating the delegation’s mission, which will remain in Lebanon for 10 days to monitor the elections and write a report on the event.

Ahead of the May 15 polls, the first round of voting for the Lebanese expats took place on May 6 in nine Arab countries and Iran, and the second phase began on May 8 in 49 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe.

Parliamentary elections are held in Lebanon every four years.

A total of 718 candidates, including 118 females, are in the fray for the polls to the 128-seat Parliament.

Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system allocates seats for its mosaic of religious sects in its Parliament, including Sunni and Shia Muslims, various Christian denominations, and the Druze.

The president must always be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni and the Speaker of Parliament a Shia.

The elections come amid an unprecedented economic crisis that emerged about three years ago, leading to the currency to lose more than 90 per cent of its value since 2019, while also plunging over 70 per cent of the population into poverty.

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