BEIRUT — Candidate in Lebanese Forces list, Khaled al-Askar, announced his withdrawal from the LF’s Rashaya list in Bekaa II on Saturday, the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• “I confirm that our reluctance to continue in the elections… was not under the guidance or pressure of anyone, but rather a decision I took in consultation with our family and friends,” al-Askar said in an announcement. He added, “I pledge to my family and everyone who was with us that we will continue to work to serve them and seek to obtain their rights.”
• This comes over a week after at least four candidates withdrew their candidacy in the Baalbeck-Hermel (Bekaa III), Akkar (North I), and Zahle (Bekaa I) districts, some citing family or social pressure for their withdrawal. Some of these included Nizar Ibrahim, on the “Akkar Revolts” list, who then encouraged voters to vote for the Free Patriotic Movement’s list, and three candidates from LF’s “Building the State” list. It also comes a few days after Madinati (also known as Beirut Madinati) withdrew its list from the Beirut II district, though it will be continuing its electoral campaign in Beirut I, with two candidates running in South I and South III.
• Though several candidates have withdrawn their candidacy, they will still appear on voting ballots, given the deadline to officially withdraw through the Interior Ministry was on March 30 and ballots have already been finalized.