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ELECTIONS 2022

More than 240,000 Lebanon expats register to vote in polls

A voter shows his ink-stained thumb after voting in the last Lebanese legislative elections, on May 6, 2018. (Credit: Joseph Eid/AFP)

BEIRUT — Nearly 245,000 Lebanese living abroad have signed up to vote in next year’s parliamentary polls, Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday, after it closed the window for registration.

The vote, scheduled for next spring, is seen by many as a chance to challenge the ruling elite’s stranglehold on a country mired in its worse-ever financial crisis.

Lebanon’s diaspora — estimated to number at least three times the country’s population of 6 million — will take part in the vote for the 128-seat parliament, making them a powerful electoral force. 

The Foreign Ministry said the final expat voter count reached 244,442 — more than double the almost 93,000 who registered for the last parliamentary polls in 2018, Lebanon’s first expat vote.

While the first was poorly publicized, this time around opposition activists at home and abroad organized social media campaigns to explain the registration process.

In some parts of Europe, volunteers set up registration centers to help compatriots sign up.

Europe accounted for the largest number of registered expat voters, with nearly 75,000, followed by Asia with 61,000 voters and North America, where 60,000 signed up, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

In Latin America, home to one of Lebanon’s largest and oldest diaspora communities, only 6,350 people registered for the vote.

The March polls mark the first major electoral test since the onset in 2019 of a financial crises widely blamed on nepotism and corruption among Lebanon's ruling class.

It comes as Lebanese, nearly 80 percent of whom live below the poverty line, battle to survive with scant incomes and endless power cuts and price hikes.

“The wave of change has started,” said Ayah Bdeir, a Lebanese activist who organized a diaspora vote campaign. 

“Next we vote for change, then we take back our country,” she said Sunday in a post on Twitter.




BEIRUT — Nearly 245,000 Lebanese living abroad have signed up to vote in next year’s parliamentary polls, Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday, after it closed the window for registration.

The vote, scheduled for next spring, is seen by many as a chance to challenge the ruling elite’s stranglehold on a country mired in its worse-ever...