DAILY SCOPE: First Round of Elections Successful, Hariri Disappointed with Low Turnout
Lebanese Cast Their Votes, Pretexts of Extension Falls
Lebanese Said "Yes" to Elections, "No" to Disruption, Postponement
Municipal Elections 2016: Indifference or Submission?
Hariri Loses People, Wins Municipality
Majority in Beirut Revenges from Ruling Class
Lebanese newspapers on Monday followed up on the municipal and mayoral elections that took place in the capital Beirut and in the Beqaa area. The first round was held on Sunday in the first vote of any kind in Lebanon since the last municipal elections took place in 2010. The Lebanese dailies also highlighted the low turnout as election rates did not exceed 20% in the capital Beirut, which reflects the dissatisfaction of the citizens with the political forces, especially the Future party and its waning popularity.
The papers also tracked social media sarcastic comments, which highlighted ex-PM Saad Hariri's blooper as he "mistakenly" cast a municipal polls ballot in a ballot box for the mayoral elections.
AL-JOMHOURIA: Post-Municipal Elections Is a Crucial Phase
In a reading to the post-elections phase, Al-Jomhouria Lebanese daily said on Monday that the most important and crucial issue is the political conflict represented in the presidential elections and the drafting of a new electoral law in Lebanon, which will blow up after the end of the municipal and mayoral elections, as it is directly related to the Syrian crisis and the developments in the region.
The first round of elections -of the four-phase municipal elections, which take place every six years, in the Bekaa governorate were held on Sunday, along with the Beirut and Baalbek-Hermel governorates.
However, Mount Lebanon elections are set for May 15, South Lebanon and Nabatieh for May 22, and North Lebanon and Akkar for May 29. The number of municipal seats contested in the first round of municipal elections in Beirut and the Bekaa Valley is 2,124, while the number of mayors' posts is 668.
AS-SAFIR: Lebanese Politicians Hampering Democratic Process, Hariri Popularity Drops Low
"The masks fell on Sunday, and it became clear that ideas and news that were spread and propagated by the political class in Lebanon on the inappropriate regional and domestic security circumstances impeding elections from taking place were all illusions," said As-Safir newspaper on Monday.
The daily added that "Sunday was a proof that the Lebanese can cast their ballots, and can compete normally, without repercussions from the Syrian crisis, the war in Yemen, the protests in Iran, the US-Russian rift or even the sensitive situation in Lebanon's Arsal due to the presence of the takfiri terrorist groups reflecting on the Lebanese arena and its elections."
As-Safir further stressed that the Lebanese politicians are procrastinating the parliamentary elections for the same "illusionary" pretexts, underscoring that the municipal and mayoral elections that went well so far constitute a denunciation to the attitude of the ruling class in the country which has confiscated all political and democratic rights from the Lebanese people.
It also pointed out to the fact that the people headed to the ballot boxes on Sunday and all worked well in absence of a president and in light of the Parliament's paralysis, which means that the Lebanese people enjoy a high level of awareness and a sense of responsibility that gives them "self-sufficiency" to engage in the constitutional processes especially as voting rates reached some 70% in different towns across the country.
"The only exceptional case was Beirut, where voting rates did not exceed 20%, despite all the mobilization that was carried out by ex-PM Saad Hariri and his supporters", said the paper, adding that even though the Future party-backed "Beirutis list" has won the elections in the capital, yet that does not deny the following facts:
- The influence of the "Future party" has decreased in the capital, especially as its Chief Saad Hariri has been absent for quite some time from Lebanon and that was reflected in the fact that 80% of Beirut's people abstained from voting.
- The Future party-backed "Beirutis list" was far from being harmonious, especially as it brought together candidates from the Christian Free Patriotic Movement and the Sunni Future party together, and that prompted many Christians from voting to the opposing list.
- The disdain and anger of the citizens towards political parties especially after the several scandals that were exposed during the past period, which includes the waste management crisis and the scandals that followed on the case.
- The failure of the opposing forces joined together in "Beirutis list" from uniting its lines and presenting themselves as a coherent and integrated list where some forces left to join the opposing list of "Beirut my city".
- The feeling of many voters that their ballots are useless and meaningless because of the absence of proportionality in the election process.
Meanwhile, As-Safir said that the case was the opposite in other areas across Lebanon, where there was a high turnout. The newspaper said that for instance, there was tough competition in Baalbeck and the Beqaa areas, with a clear ability of consistency and cooperation between the "Hizbullah" and "Amal party" who formed an alliance together.
AL-AKHBAR: Hariri Should Get Lost
"Saad Hariri should get lost...We tried him and saw he was of no use...he failed in Saudi Arabia and brought his failure back with him to Lebanon..." al-Akhbar newspaper quoted a Beiruti woman as saying, who was standing at one of the ballot centers on Sunday.
"Every time she would hear his name she would boil over with anger and assure that she preferred voting for other candidates, saying "the Beiruti chief did not even leave a seaside for us to walk on, we have no space to even breathe!"" reported al-Akhbar. The newspaper underscored that "such was a one instance to the many other citizens who have raised their voices against the Future party and its performance during the past years."
On the same note, the Lebanese daily quoted Future party sources who noted that
"ex-PM Saad Hariri was disappointed as around 80% of the capital's citizens decided not to vote, which means that his popularity has dropped badly."
In a comment made by Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat who had a candidate on the "Beiruti list", Jumblatt said "Even Sheikh Saad is not convinced of the Beirutis List." Jumblat took to Twitter on Sunday to post a sarcastic comment after al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri mistakenly cast a municipal polls ballot in a ballot box for the mayoral elections.
Source: al-Ahed News