The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) issued that it had monitored the 2nd round of the parliamentary elections held on Sunday, May 8, in a number of foreign countries.
In the statement, LADE shared that it had deployed in a number of polling stations, including in the UAE, Morocco, Sweden, Italy, France, Britain, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, Cyprus, Romania, Hungary, Poland, The Netherlands, Mexico, the U.S, Canada, Ghana, Senegal, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Congo, and Australia.
During the electoral process, LADE observers recorded many cases of pressure on voters by some political parties, which led to some problems in more than one place.
For example, in Abu Dhabi, the ambassador issued warnings to all polling stations because political parties’ delegates communicated with voters.
In Senegal, Amal and Hezbollah affiliated tents were placed in front of the polling station, and a representative of the movement was monitored to communicate with voters.
The organization also recorded cases of fraud and problems.
In England, there were clashes between a voter and a representative of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM). There was also a verbal altercation between a voter and a supporter of the FPM in France, as well as in Germany:
In the statement, LADE also highlighted the “massive” electoral propaganda taking place:
“Electoral propaganda is one of the most frequent irregularities in more than one place, both inside and around polling stations, with a breach of electoral silence that is supposed to apply until the polls close.”
For instance, in Paris, the Lebanese Ambassador to France told an observer that supporters of the Lebanese Forces (LF) came to the polling station carrying flags but they were then removed.
In Melbourn, Australia, the FPM of Gebran Bassil and the Progressive Socialist Party of Walid Jumblatt conducted their propaganda openly, setting up their electoral tents outside the polling stations.
New opponent movements to the regime were also observed addressing voters in certain stations abroad.
According to LADE, “there was also a heavy presence at several polling stations, particularly in the UAE, of delegates wearing “Voice for Change” jackets, who addressed voters directly to vote for “change”, which could be considered an electoral appeal.”
The organization also reflected on some instances of “chaos and unpreparedness”:
The Lebanese Consulate in Dubai saw a large crowd of voters, “which led to chaos, amid complaints from the organization […] despite the hot weather.”
LADE reported that some political party delegates even entered voting stations through back doors.
“Among the general observations conveyed by the observers were the lack of readiness of polling stations to receive persons with special needs in Morocco, Britain, Gabon, Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, London, Marseille, Netherlands, Rowen (France), Moscow, Hamburg (Germany) and Bucharest (Romania).”
There were also many cases of people not being able to renew their passports in their respected embassies.
The organization also revealed some preliminary assessments of the end of the voting process:
When the counting ended, LADE recorded a mismatch between the number of voter’s envelopes and the number of voters.
LADE also revealed that in France, a Head of a Centre asked the delegates present to keep the ballot boxes without the presence of the delegate, until DHL arrives.
Adding that in polling station 32 at the Paris 5 Centre, the counting of the envelopes continued for five hours.
Some voters abroad, notably in Montreal, shared with 961News that they were asked not to close their vote envelopes, and were directed to insert them as is in the ballots’ box. A puzzled voter who asked for the reason was told: “They don’t close, anyway.”