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Lebanon says holding municipal elections ‘almost impossible’

April 12, 2023 at 5:32 pm

Deputy Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament Elias Bou Saab in Yarze, on September 19, 2019 [JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images]

Lebanon’s Parliament Deputy Speaker, Elias Bou Saab, on Wednesday ruled out holding the country’s local elections next month, Anadolu News Agency reports.

“Holding the municipal elections in May is almost impossible,” Bou Saab said, following a parliamentary session to discuss the issue of funding the polls.

He said the constitutional deadline for accepting nominations for the vote will close by the end of April.

“No candidates have applied for the polls, so far,” he added.

Wednesday’s parliamentary session was not attended by relevant Lebanese officials, including caretaker Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, Interior Minister, Bassam Mawlawi and Finance Minister, Youssef Khalil.

The Finance Ministry representative to the meeting stressed that no funds have, so far, been made available for holding the municipal elections.

On 3 April, Mawlawi said his Ministry is ready to hold the polls on its scheduled date at the end of May, and called for securing the needed funds for the process.

Since 2019, Lebanon has been facing a crippling economic crisis that, according to the World Bank, is one of the worst the world has seen in modern times.

The country has been unable to elect a new president since October 2022 to replace former President, Michel Aoun, amid differences among political rivals.

Lebanon has also been without a fully functioning government since May last year, with Mikati and his Cabinet having limited powers in their current caretaker status.

MEMO in conversation: Lebanon, a failed state