This year’s elections broke many records and are aiming to break even more mainstream standards by pumping new blood and ideas into the political heart of Lebanon.
From intense civil society participation to diaspora voting rights and female candidate numbers, this is indeed one rebellious election event.
Of 1,043 candidates, 155 are women, making up nearly 15% of the sum of contestants for the parliament. If not by the percentage then by pure numbers, female participation this year is one of the highest in Lebanese history.
Among these 155 female candidates, a 26-year-old political rebel has stolen the lights as the youngest candidate. She is Verena El-Amil.
Born in 1996 to apolitical parents, Verena has grown fond of politics and statecraft. Her go into politics was as early as 8 years old when she was able to organize a protest in her elementary classroom.
Contesting for the Maronite chair in the Mount Lebanon II – Metn governorate, El-Amil has the eyes of a tiger staring at political confessionalism in Lebanon. And with years of political experience, she is going undeviatingly against traditional parties in Lebanon, the guardians of the status quo.
She believes that the parliament is the most suitable launching board against corruption and nepotism and illicit businesses.
“Resistance crystalized in the 2019 crisis when the enemy became clear; political confessionalism,” Verena repeats. “The goal is now to send a strong message that we, the youth, aren’t going to leave the fate of Lebanon in the hands of the ruling mafia.”
Verena, who speaks 4 languages, has a master’s degree in Business Law from Saint Joseph University (USJ) and another in Comparative Law from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.
She is a member of the Beirut Bar Association, an eloquent speaker, and a valorous warrior on the battlefields of social justice, secularism, gender equality, and the thawra, the Lebanese Revolution that took off in October 2019.
As head of the secular club at the USJ, she established the “Talib” action club (Talib can simultaneously mean both a student and a seeker of knowledge and rights). She won 8 out of the 13 seats in the Law Faculty elections in 2020.
The promising young candidate, along with her electoral list, is fighting tooth and nail to make dreams come true and promises manifest. The hope appears to lay within such candidates, who seemed the fittest for the role, in a country where the unfit presides.