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.



Israeli Military Says it has Struck Houthi Targets in Yemen

A huge column of fire erupts following reported strikes in Hodeidah on July 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
A huge column of fire erupts following reported strikes in Hodeidah on July 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Israeli Military Says it has Struck Houthi Targets in Yemen

A huge column of fire erupts following reported strikes in Hodeidah on July 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
A huge column of fire erupts following reported strikes in Hodeidah on July 20, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

The Israeli army said Saturday it has struck several Houthi targets in western Yemen following a fatal drone attack by the militias in Tel Aviv the previous day.

A number of “military targets” were hit in the western port city of Hodeidah, the Israeli army said, adding that its attack was in response to “hundreds of attacks” against Israel in recent months.

“The Houthis attacked us over 200 times. The first time that they harmed an Israeli citizen, we struck them. And we will do this in any place where it may be required,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement.
Israel’s military said it alone carried out the strikes and “our friends were updated.” An Israeli Defense Forces official didn't say how many sites were targeted, but told journalists that the port is the main entry point for Iranian weapons. The official didn't say whether it was Israel’s first attack on Yemen.

Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam posted on X that the “blatant Israeli aggression” targeted fuel storage facilities and the province’s power station. He said the attacks aim “to increase the suffering of the people and to pressure Yemen to stop supporting Gaza.”

Abdulsalam said the attacks will only make Yemen's people and armed forces more determined to support Gaza. “There will be impactful strikes,” Mohamed Ali al-Houthi of the Supreme Political Council in Yemen wrote on X.

A media outlet controlled by the Houthis in Yemen, Al-Masirah TV, said the strikes on storage facilities for oil and diesel at the port and on the local electricity company caused deaths and injuries, and several people had severe burns. It said there was a large fire at the port and power cuts were widespread.

The drone attack by the Houthis killed one person in the center of Tel Aviv and wounded at least 10 others early Friday.