Representatives of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission to Lebanon, returned to Beirut on Monday to present the final results of their report, inclusive of 23 recommendations for future electoral processes.
The Chief Observer and Member of the European Parliament György Hölvényi, tasked with presenting the report, noted that while there were limitations as to the availability of financial and human resources, the Parliamentary elections were conducted in a timely manner.
However, Hölvényi also commented that “these elections were overshadowed by widespread practices of vote-buying and clientelism, which distorted the level playing field and seriously affected the voters’ choice.”
The report emphasized that, while the campaign process was vibrant and spirited, intimidation (including on social media) and cases of campaign obstruction tainted the process.
Additionally, the mission found that while freedom of speech was generally respected, the mainstream media landscape failed to provide equal visibility and balanced coverage.
The 23 recommendations for future elections will be discussed with all relevant stakeholders.
The mission underscored the need to:
better enable pre-registration and expand the participation of voters;
establish the Supervisory Commission for Elections (SCE) as a separate legal entity that is fully independent of the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, including in financial and administrative terms;
once established, give the SCE the mandate and capacity to check and audit all personal accounts of the candidates and their families for more transparency;
adopting measures to increase women’s overall representation in the Parliament.