Lebanon votes in 2022 parliamentary elections
The Lebanese people are heading to the polls in the first legislative elections in the country since it underwent several political and economic crises that put it on the world map of turbulence.
The people of Lebanon are heading to the polls on Sunday for the first time since simultaneous, consecutive crises hit the country and brought upon public outrage due to the living conditions rendered intolerable and exacerbated by mounting international pressure on the country.
The parliamentary election comes to test the opposition - a vast majority of whom is backed and funded by the US - that came to life during the widespread 2019 protests that saw demonstrators taking to the streets all over Lebanon.
The election campaign faced many obstructions due to the stifling economic condition in the country, but Beirut overcame the obstacles, with now 3.9 million Lebanese people being eligible to vote as soon as the polls opened at 7:00 am (4:00 am GMT) and until 7:00 pm (4:00 pm GMT).
#Lebanese voters can now head to the polling stations to vote in the Lebanese Parliamentary elections for the year 2022. #Lebanon#lebanonelections2022 #Lebaneseelections2022 pic.twitter.com/yqFCtY3NPd— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) May 15, 2022
This comes days after former US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker said he did not think the status-quo in Lebanon would shift due to the election, i.e., the situation would not change in the interest of the United States.
A key aspect of Schenker's talking point was his claim of "growing discontent with Hezbollah amongst the Shia constituent", adding that the US could have done more to "exploit" that discontent.
The senior diplomat cited the Bush administration's siding with the Lebanese March 14 coalition in 2005 as an exception. The US had sided with the coalition in a bid to undermine the March 8 coalition comprised of Hezbollah and its allies, according to Schenker.
Since the state held its last election, Lebanon has been hit by a pandemic, a blast labeled one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, a political crisis, a diplomatic crisis, and widespread protests, all of which have exacerbated the economic situation and stocked surging inflation in the country.
The national currency has lost more than 95% of its value, people are blocked from accessing their savings in banks, and the minimum wage cannot cover basic necessities throughout the month, putting more than 80% of the population under the poverty line.
Due to the hardship the Lebanese people are suffering, the country landed at the very bottom of the 2022 World Happiness Index released in March. The country only came second-to-last to Afghanistan, a nation that has just ended a US occupation that lasted 20-years and brought it to the brink of collapse.