Lebanese diaspora begin casting votes ahead of historic election

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Lebanese nationals around the world will begin voting in parliamentary elections today, ahead of the main vote next Sunday.

With over one million nationals spread across the globe, there was enormous potential for the Lebanese diaspora to shape Lebanon’s next parliament, but only 82,000 people have registered to vote—likely due to a lack of awareness and interest. It is the first time in the country’s history that Lebanese living abroad will be eligible to vote.

Next Sunday’s vote will be Lebanon’s first election in nine years. In that time, Lebanon has had three elections postponed, become the world’s third most indebted country, has had its prime minister resign—and then retract his resignation—and experienced an influx of some 1.5 million Syrian refugees. But despite such turmoil, next week’s vote is not expected to see any major changes to Lebanon’s government; Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri is likely to retain his position.

With the same powers likely to dominate Lebanon’s next parliament, the country could quickly find itself plagued by those same economic and political problems that caused the turmoil in the first place.

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