Paris has told Lebanese officials that the parliamentary elections would be held on time in May 2022, before the end of the current parliament’s mandate, a European diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat
The conflict over the electoral law would not hamper elections, which are the mandatory path to re-establishing the authority In Lebanon, the source added.
The official said that the international support group was currently seeking a supportive stance for Paris’ insistence on holding the parliamentary elections on time, which would pass a direct warning to the ruling authorities of the serious political damage to Lebanon if the elections were postponed.
He noted that the current valid election law, will be adopted if an agreement was not reached over a new law. However, some parties’ call for early parliamentary polls were only attempts of intimidation, as the current parliament’s term ends in only 11 months.
The same source considered that holding the elections on time should be accompanied with efforts to provide stability for the Lebanese to avoid a social explosion. This would require the formation of a government that adopts the reforms included in French President Emmanuel Macron’s initiative to save Lebanon.
“Such a government would be able to negotiate with the IMF to provide some support that would secure the required oxygen for the state,” according to the European diplomatic official.
Moreover, the source underlined that the French support for the Lebanese army was aimed at helping the military institution and other security forces to assume their role in maintaining stability.
In this context, Paris is organizing an international conference to support the military institution to receive aid that contributes to alleviating the suffering of the citizens, while waiting for the formation of the government.
Accordingly, the negotiations to form a government enter a critical stage with the tripartite meeting. Observers are waiting to see whether white smoke will rise from this meeting or will Bassil continue with his game of buying time.