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ELECTIONS 2022

Baalbeck-Hermel: Lebanese Forces candidate denounces Hezbollah's 'violence and intimidation'


Baalbeck-Hermel: Lebanese Forces candidate denounces Hezbollah's 'violence and intimidation'

Lebanese Forces candidate for the Maronite seat in Baalbeck-Hermel, Antoine Habchi. (Credit: Photo taken fromHabchi's Facebook page)

BEIRUT — The Lebanese Forces candidate running for the Maronite seat in Baalbek-Hermel, Antoine Habchi, pointed out in a press conference on Wednesday that the electoral battle in the district has recently turned into a round of “violence and intimidation” rather than democratic freedom. Less than two weeks ahead of the May 15 vote, the candidate said he is holding the Interior Ministry and the security services responsible for what is happening, but also emphasized that Hezbollah would be responsible for “any drop of blood that falls.”

Here’s what we know:

    • Three Shiite candidates from the Lebanese Forces list have withdrawn from the race in recent weeks in Hezbollah strongholds in the region amid allegations of intimidation by the party.

    • One of the candidates, Heymen Abbas Mcheik announced his withdrawal from Building the State list that is in alliance with the Lebanese Forces, in support of Amal and Hezbollah’s Hope and Loyalty list running in the same district, L’Orient Today reported.

    • Habchi accused Hezbollah of intimidation in the press conference, denouncing the party’s exertion of pressure to push Mcheik and another candidate who withdrew from the same list, Ramez Amhaz. “The way these candidates withdrew, reading press releases without looking at the cameras, clearly shows why these withdrawals took place,” even though these people were “enthusiastic about the idea of ​​running,” observed the parliamentarian.

     • He also emphasized reported violations and fraud that took place during the 2018 elections, stating that “Hezbollah does not respect the people of Baalbek-Hermel … and does not accept any different opinion. What is happening is directed against the Shiite opposition voice that formed in 2018, 9.7 percent, or about 17,000 votes, and therefore there is a desire for the people to send a Shiite representative from the opposition environment to Hezbollah.”

    • The Lebanese Forces deputy also denounced the attack on Tuesday of another Shiite candidate from the list, Hussein Raad, during a funeral. Last week, Sheikh Abbas Jaouhari, a Shiite candidate allied with Samir Geagea’s party, was intimidated in the middle of an electoral meeting by young armed persons.

    • Commenting on these incidents, Habchi said that “the role of the state is to protect the electoral process and justice must do its job.”

    • Ten seats are to be filled in the constituency of Baalbek-Hermel: six Shiite, two Sunni, one Maronite and one Greek-Catholic.


BEIRUT — The Lebanese Forces candidate running for the Maronite seat in Baalbek-Hermel, Antoine Habchi, pointed out in a press conference on Wednesday that the electoral battle in the district has recently turned into a round of “violence and intimidation” rather than democratic freedom. Less than two weeks ahead of the May 15 vote, the candidate said he is holding the Interior Ministry...