SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 27 September 2021, Monday |

11 MPs outside the Parliament, by-elections will not take place!

Member of Parliament Mustafa Husseini has passed away, and with his death the number of deputies who became outside the Parliament, either due to their resignation or to their death, has rose to 11, bringing the total number of MPs to 117.

By law, parliamentary by-elections should have been conducted, especially that the resignations and deaths came more than six months before the end of the current Parliament’s mandate. It seems that those involved in calling for these elections are hesitant about holding it, because they are afraid their papers and perhaps their weaknesses will be revealed early, before the general parliamentary elections that are scheduled for next May, and even next March.

The vacant seats are in Ashrafieh, northern Matn, Kesrouan, Zgharta, Aley, Chouf, and yesterday in Jbeil.

Except for Chouf and Aley, the electoral battle in other districts could have been between the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and other Christian forces, including the Lebanese forces, Kataeb party, and even civil society. Most polling institutions talk about the deteriorating popularity of FPM in Ashrafieh, North Metn, and Kesrouan.

By-elections, if it happens, would be a risky entitlement for FPM. Since the by-election paper is in the hands of the President of the Republic, even though Baabda Palace denies this, the choice was to ignore conducting these elections.

In this context, an electoral expert told Sawt Beirut International (SBI) that if the parliamentary by-elections had taken place, the “mother of battles” would be in northern Metn on the seat of the Head of Kataeb Party Sami Gemayel, MP Elias Hankash, and the late MP Michel Murr.

Competition would have been between the FPM and the Lebanese Forces, as well as the Tashnaq Party and Al-Murr family, as they nominated the son of the Minister Elias Murr, Michel, and the grandson began his fieldwork movement.

The situation is not better for FPM in Ashrafieh, because Nicoals Sehnaoui’s presence is fading, and the battle is tough on the seats of the two resigned MPs Nadim Gemayel and Paula Yacoubian.

In Zgharta, all electoral weights are in contrast with resigned MP Michel Moawad, with the exception of civil society forces that have not yet tested their electoral strength.

The Maronite seat in Tripoli, which was vacant due to the death of MP Jean Obeid, was most likely to be filled by consensus among all the forces in the northern capital, but will not go to President Mikati’s bloc, similar to what happened in the 2018 elections, because the general mood in Tripoli has changed a lot in the past three years.

In Jbeil, it is unlikely that a battle will be fought against Amal-Hezbollah duo, while the odds specify that President Hussein al-Husseini’s son, Hassan, may run for this seat. The latter appeared in the movement launched by resigned MP Nemat Frem.

In Kesrouan, who could have filled Frem’s seat? The battle between three parties: civil society, FPM, and the Lebanese Forces.

In Aley, there are several forces including the Progressive Socialist Party, Democratic Party, FPM, and the  Lebanese Forces. Will the seat of resigned MP Henry Helou be left to Jumblatt, given that Helou was in his parliamentary bloc?

In Chouf, the decision to fill the seat of resigned MP Marwan Hmadeh is primarily up to Jumblatt.

All of the above can be compared to the virtual world. Those who fear the exposure of their popularity are not “obliged” to hold parliamentary by-elections, even though their denial is against the constitution and the laws in force. However, since when did they respect the constitution?