BEIRUT — Lebanon's caretaker Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi offered assurances Saturday that municipal elections, which were originally scheduled to take place in 2022 shortly after the May 15 legislative elections, will be held in May 2023.
"Preparations have been made at the Ministry of Interior, and the electoral lists will be shared on Feb. 1," Mawlawi said during an interview with Radio Liban Libre. "I will not ask for a postponement of the elections since this deadline is important for there to be a renewal in the municipalities, which people are waiting for," he added
He added his belief that municipal elections will contribute to "further calm the security situation."
In another interview with the pan-Arab daily al-Shark al-Awsat, Mawlawi noted the ministry "has started to take administrative, technical and logistical measures to organize the elections on time, in May," and indicated that "the electoral college will be convened in April."
He also stressed that "the financing of these elections requires a law to be passed by Parliament, as there are no reserves in the State Treasury.
Mawlawi said he had asked caretaker Minister of Justice, Henri Khoury, to provide him with the names of several judges so that the Ministry of Interior can appoint the supervisory committees of the elections.
The cabinet approved a March 2022 proposal to postpone the municipal elections, which were originally scheduled to take place shortly after the legislative elections.
In his interview on the radio channel, Mawlawi sought to reassure the public about the security situation.
"The security forces are doing their duty and the ministry is following the security reports on a daily basis," said the minister. "I reassure the Lebanese: the situation in the country is good," he added, rejecting "false and malicious rumors.''
Lebanon's social and economic situation continues to decline while more than three-quarters of the population lives below the poverty line. However, according to the latest figures given by a security source, the country experienced fewer robberies and murders in 2022 than in 2021.
These figures should be read with caution, as many do not find it useful to report petty theft to the police.
Many observers fear the security situation will degenerate in the country given its double executive vacancy, record depreciation of the national currency and hyperinflation. Authorities have still not implemented drastic reforms to curb the financial collapse.
Demonstrations broke out in the streets on Thursday and Friday to protest against the inability of MPs to elect a new president, while the Lebanese lira fell to LL50,000 against the dollar.