Lebanese Government Sets Elections Date, Appoints Supervisory Body

President Michel Aoun chairs Cabinet’s session on Thursday at the Presidential Palace in Baabda (Dalati & Nohra)
President Michel Aoun chairs Cabinet’s session on Thursday at the Presidential Palace in Baabda (Dalati & Nohra)
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Lebanese Government Sets Elections Date, Appoints Supervisory Body

President Michel Aoun chairs Cabinet’s session on Thursday at the Presidential Palace in Baabda (Dalati & Nohra)
President Michel Aoun chairs Cabinet’s session on Thursday at the Presidential Palace in Baabda (Dalati & Nohra)

Lebanon’s Cabinet formed Thursday an electoral body to prepare for next year’s parliamentary polls.

The supervisory body “is a first step in the process of preparation for the elections and must be followed by other accelerated measures”, official sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

The sources added that the Interior Ministry formed a specialized technical committee, which includes representatives of the ministry’s different departments, to coordinate arrangements for the upcoming elections.

Following the Cabinet session on Thursday at the presidential palace in Baabda, Information Minister Melhem Riachi said that the supervisory body would be headed by Judge Nadim Abdel-Malek and would include ten members, who are representatives of “civil society and unions.”

The elections are set to take place in May 2018 – the first time Lebanese voters are able to go to the polls since 2009.

The committee will be tasked with controlling electoral spending, receiving financial statements of electoral campaigns, managing requests by media outlets wishing to participate in paid electoral advertisements, in accordance with the provisions of the electoral law, monitoring compliance to the regulations and preparing reports to be submitted to the president, the speaker and the prime minister.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the executive director of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE), Omar Kaboul, described Cabinet’s appointment of the supervisory body as a “positive step”, pointing out that one of the experts designated by civil society associations was selected as a member of the body.

“But we still insist that this body should be fully independent, not subject to the authority of the Ministry of the Interior,” he stated.



Palestinian Authority at Risk of Collapse, Norway Says

Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
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Palestinian Authority at Risk of Collapse, Norway Says

Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)
Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide attends the annual Kultaranta Talks -debate session on foreign and security policy at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland June 13, 2024. (Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander via Reuters)

The Palestinian Authority could collapse in the coming months, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Monday, citing a lack of funding, continuing violence and the fact that half a million Palestinians are not allowed to work in Israel.

"The situation is extremely dire. The Palestinian Authority, with whom we work closely, are warning us that they might be collapsing this summer," Barth Eide told Reuters.

"If it collapses, you could end up having another Gaza, which would be terrible for everybody, including the people of Israel," he added.

Norway chairs the international donor group to the Palestinians and is a backer of the PA.