Lebanon Election to Take Place on Sunday Despite Unjust Laws

Published 27 May 2005
The upcoming election in Lebanon, which will take place on Sunday, is said to be the first free election since the withdrawal of Syrian troops from the country. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has commented that the election is a "good step forward." However, several objections still remain against the electoral law 2000.

The United States is one of the countries that has pressed Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and has insisted that the election be held on time, despite objections that the pro-Syrian electoral law 2000 is not just and discriminates against Christians.

Lebanon divides political power among the several religious confessions according to a strict formula where the President must be a Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament a Shiite Muslim.

According to a Lebanese analyst who has campaigned to change the system into the more democratic one, the Lebanese will also vote by religion: "We are voting according to sect, so if you are the catholic, during the voting day you have to go to specific building that is meant only for Catholics who will vote, the same for Sunnis and Shiites," she said for NPR.

The latest attempts to unite the opposition failed, as the agreement was not achieved between Christian political leader Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Walid Jumblatt. However, analysts say that it will not have a significant impact on voter turnout, but will just make a more competitive atmosphere in the election.

Despite all the differences, all leaders are united in one thing at least: urging people to take part in this election despite the fact it runs under an unjust law.

Recently, Christian groups were encouraging young people to participate in the parliamentary election, and Muslim scholars and muftis joined them. A meeting was held on Wednesday resulting in a statement that stressed the need "to promote national unity and co-existence" as a means of regional development, and is "building the future of the country, a country of love, security, stability and peace."

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