Lebanon approves $18 million to hold May election

US lawmakers call on Biden admin to help ensure Lebanon elections held on time

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers Wednesday called on the Biden administration to work with Lebanese officials to ensure that the upcoming parliamentary elections next month are held on time, “transparently and free of corruption.”

“We write to urge that the Administration continues to call upon and work with Lebanese officials to ensure that parliamentary elections scheduled for May 15, 2022, are carried out on time, transparently and free of corruption,” the statement read.

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The letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken was penned by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks, Congressmen David Cicilline, Darrell Issa, Darin LaHood and 20 other colleagues.

Elections are scheduled to be held in Lebanon next month, but there are concerns over the political elite’s willingness to ensure they occur.

An unprecedented number of opposition and civil society candidates are hoping to be elected over veteran politicians, who are widely blamed for the country’s economic and financial crashes.

“With dueling political and economic crises, the May parliamentary elections are the first opportunity the Lebanese people will have to cast their ballots since protests in the country began in 2019 after years of corruption and mismanagement,” the US lawmakers said in their letter.

Washington’s ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, previously warned that failing to hold elections on time would result in swift condemnation.

The lawmakers urged the Biden administration to speak out against any side or individual that instigates corruption, disruption, postponement or cancelation of the elections.

They also called on relevant stakeholders to ensure a successful election monitoring operation and ensure the diaspora votes outside of Lebanon are independently counted.

“Continue to support the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces in maintaining security and stability ahead of, and during, elections,” the lawmakers said, adding that it was important to continue supporting “Lebanon’s vibrant civil society in its pursuit of democracy.”

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