Impact Lebanon, a global initiative hub for driven Lebanese citizens, has launched a new volunteer-led initiative under the name of Sawti (My Voice), with the purpose of informing, engaging, and mobilizing Lebanese citizens about voting in the elections.
“The primary goal of Sawti is to encourage active citizenship, to get all Lebanese citizens to engage in the political process, whether in a small way or a big way,” Diana Abbas, co-founder of Impact Lebanon told The961.
The way Sawti plans on educating citizens about voting in the elections is by gathering all the needed resources that will help citizens gain knowledge about the voting process in Lebanon.
Sawti will be launching a website by the end of February with all the resources on the elections, including how to vote from wherever you are, even if you are part of the diaspora, how the process of voting will look like, all the documents you need, as well as the deadlines for the elections.
Sawti will also be providing information about alternative political parties in the Lebanese elections, chosen based on the eight set of criteria:
- Did not participate in the civil war.
- Is not with the March 8 or 14 alliances or in the current political establishment.
- Actively non-sectarian.
- Do not hold foreign agendas.
- Democratic in ideology and governance.
- Financially transparent.
- Actively strives for equality for all members of the society.
- Holds electoral aspirations and an electoral program.
“We’re making sure Lebanese citizens are knowledgable about their rights, and that they are exercising their duties by engaging politically in Lebanon, because that’s the only solution going forward,” Abbas said.
“The information provided by Sawti is for anyone and everyone, so that we can get the whole Lebanese community in Lebanon or outside the country engaged,” she added.
In 2018, voter turnout was considered to be especially low, with only half of registered voters actually casting a ballot.
The lack of information on the Lebanese electoral process and on independent parties, as well as the loss of trust in the system and the impression that a single vote won’t make a difference are some of the main reasons why people didn’t vote, according to Abbas.
By the end of March, Lebanon will be holding parliamentary by-elections for 10 vacant seats, as the country has been 10 MPs short since mid-2020, leaving the Parliament with 118 members out of 128.
With Sawti, Lebanese citizens have no excuse to not pitch in their vote, as the country is in dire need for reforms that might save it from further crises.