Lebanon's Interior Ministry sets 2022 parliamentary elections for May
The decree still needs Lebanese President Michel Aoun and PM Najib Mikati’s signature before it goes into force.
The 2022 elections will be the country’s first since its 2019 uprising, when tens of thousands of people took to the street to demand an end to the corrupt governance that has characterized the country for decades.
The announcement had been expected for some time, after Lebanese President Michel Aoun refused to sign off on the election law Parliament had earlier sent to him.
The Shia Amal movement had been pushing for a March election, while Lebanon’s most powerful Christian party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) had asked for polls to be held in May.
The head of the FPM, Gebran Bassil, had previously argued that inclement weather conditions would hamper voting efforts if the elections were to be held in March.
On December 21, Lebanon’s Constitutional Council failed to rule in favor of FPM’s appeal to limit Lebanon’s diaspora vote to six MPs. Lebanon’s diaspora currently vote in the districts they are originally from, similar to voters inside the country.
This year the diaspora registered 225,000 voters – a record number. They are widely expected to vote for non-establishment parties, an expectation that analysts have said was behind FPM’s attempt to limit expat votes to just six seats.
Since the 2019 protests, the country has plunged into an economic crisis dubbed by the World Bank as one of the “top-3” economic crises in the world since the 1850s.
With the currency having lost over 90 percent of its value and the prices of goods skyrocketing, the UN estimates that over two-thirds of Lebanon’s population is under the poverty line.