10 major municipal election violations as documented by activists in Beirut, East Lebanon

Shortly after polls closed for Beirut and east Lebanon’s municipal and mukhtar elections, the [preliminary] results came in with the Byerte list winning Beirut, and Hezbollah securing a victory in Baalbeck.

According to LADE (the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections), 647 electoral violations were reported between Sunday and Monday in Beirut and the Bekaa [link].

With all eyes on Beirut, where a battle between traditional politics (Byerte) and new (Beirut Madinati) took center stage, several enthusiastic volunteers documented and published blatant violations that occurred throughout Election Day seemingly under the gaze of onlookers.

Here are the ten major election violations, as documented by activists and observers.

1- Difficult access for people with special needs:

Countless citizens were subjected to humiliating means in order to access voting stations. While there are no exact figures registered, the complete disregard to people with special needs is a blatant violation of the law. Read more here.

Source: Facebook//LPHU.Campaigns
Source: Facebook/LPHU.Campaigns

2-Victory announced in advance (1):

Minister of Environment Mohamad Machnouk took to unofficial channels on Sunday evening to declare the victory of the Byerte list even as the process of vote counting was still in its prime. Announcements of the kind fall under the duties of the officials channels, namely the Ministry of Interior.

3- Victory announced in advance (2):

The announcement of the victory of the Byerte list did not only occur prior to Minister Mohamad Machnouk’s twitter post as noted above, but was promoted via a television program a week in advance, whereby Leila Abdel Latif –a popular television psychic – announced that former PM Saad Hariri’s list, the Byerte, will secure a landslide victory. Watch video here.

Source: LBCI
Source: LBCI

4- Unattended ballot boxes, transported in civilian vehicles:

Source: Facebook/STOPCulturalTerrorismInLebanon via Ayman Nahle
Source: Facebook/STOPCulturalTerrorismInLebanon
via Ayman Nahle

5- Access denied to BM representatives during vote count:

Source: Facebook/mahdi.zahreddine
Source: Facebook/mahdi.zahreddine

6- Swaying voters opinions and the presence of delegates in and around polling stations

LBCI received photos from inside a polling center in the region of Bourj Abi Haydar, depicting a number of electoral delegates distributing lists on voters inside the center, which is considered a violation of the electoral law. [Link]

Source: LBCI
Source: LBCI

7- Pre-election silence violated with the continued promotion of several candidates in various media

Source: AnNahar
Source: AnNahar | Translation: Electoral “wedding”; Byerte confident as BM complains of election silence breach …

 

8- Scuffles registered between political groups and the intervention of the Lebanese Army

Source: Gino Raidy from Gino’sBlog

9- Vote buying and documented bribery

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said a suspect was arrested for allegedly buying votes in Sunday’s municipal elections in the eastern city of Zahle.

Machnouk said in a statement that police arrested Kh.L. who allegedly paid voters in the town to submit ballots for a specific electoral list, without specifying which one. [Link]

10-  Various other violations

Source: Facebook/LADE
Source: Facebook/LADE

LADE stated that a significant increase in the proportion of irregularities occurred in conjunction with a tangible decline in electoral participation. In Beirut, almost 80% of the population abstained from voting –the highest on record. In a press conference today, LADE said that it will follow up on all registered electoral violations. It also said that it will continue to monitor the electoral process in the upcoming weeks. LADE urged all citizens to file complaints in the case that they witness election fraud or suspicious activity.

About 
Nadine Mazloum is an Australian born, Beirut bred multimedia journalist, editor, and blogger. She most recently worked as StepFeed's Senior Editor. Before that, she was the news editor and resident blogger for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International [LBCI] and has held several positions with well-known media outlets both locally and internationally. Her work appears online both on LBCI and on her personal blog, NewsroomNomad©.

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