BEIRUT —- The European Union Election Observation Mission met on Friday with Lebanese authorities and representatives from political parties and civil society to discuss the 23 recommendations included in its report on the 2022 parliamentary elections, released Monday.
Here’s what we know:
• “The recommendations are the most important contribution that the mission offers to the country, the starting point of possible future electoral reforms,” Chief Observer György Hölvényi said, adding that “the European Union stands ready to support Lebanon in order to implement the recommendations and in order to make future electoral processes strengthened and improved.”
• The six “priority” recommendations in the report are: establishing voting “mega centers,” central polling stations that allow vote casting outside voters’ electoral district; establishing an independent election supervisory body endowed with the ability to impose “enforcement measures” (e.g. fines) in which a “dedicated unit” can audit candidates’ and their immediate families’ bank accounts; “strictly regulate the provision of goods, services or payments by institutions owned or managed by candidates or parties,” aiming to curtail the rampant clientelism ahead of elections; and the adoption of “temporary special measures to increase women’s representation in the Parliament.”
• Brandon Benifei, head of the EU delegation, had said during the presentation of preliminary results that none of the recommendations issued by a similar EU monitoring team in 2018 had been implemented, particularly with regards to strengthening the Supervisory Commission on Elections. Nonetheless, the results were qualified as “valid” by the observers, despite various violations.