BEIRUT — Opposition group Madinati announced in a press conference Wednesday that it will “stop” its electoral campaign in the Beirut II district for the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for May 15.
Here’s what we know:
• Last week, Aly Sleem, executive director of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections told L’Orient Today that the withdrawal of nominations after the allotted period [45 days before the elections] has no legal weight and is just a measure to inform voters, since at this stage the lists that will appear on the ballot cannot be changed
• “Beirut Madinati held open meetings for three days and took the following decisions for the interest of the people and the thawra [revolution]: After all the calls for boycotting the elections and the influence it might have on the election’s outcome, with the possibility of the establishment and radical parties of earning a high percentage of votes, we decided to stop our political campaign,” Madinati said in a statement read at its press conference. Madinati however urged its supporters in Beirut II district to “go out and vote.”
• When asked about the decision, the general coordinator for Madinati, who is herself running in the Beirut I district, Nada Sahnaoui told L’Orient Today that “we ask people to vote for groups that call for change.” She, however, declined to answer additional questions at this time.
• Sarah Yassine, a candidate in Madinati’s Beirut II district, told L’Orient Today that she was not informed of the decision and that she and another candidate on the same list, Paula Rabiyz, have decided to still compete despite the group’s decision. “I was not informed of the decision and was surprised by what they announced in the press conference. We have people that believe in us so we cannot just leave them at the last second,” Yassine said. “I was for merging with the [other opposition list] Beirut the Change but they have decided to form their own list because of differences in vision, which I understand, but they shouldn’t decide to withdraw from the race after months of campaigning just 10 days before the elections,” Yassine continued.
• Madinati are also running as a list in Beirut I district and have two candidates distributed over Saida [Hania Zaatari, South I] and the South [Wassim Ghandour, South III].
• The other two independent groups in the Beirut II district are Citizens in a State’s Capable list and Beirut the Change formed by Beirut Resists, Tahalof Watani, the National Bloc and allies in the opposition movement.