SUN 21 - 4 - 2019
Date: Apr 12, 2018
Source: The Daily Star

Folder: Elections
Aoun welcomes EU election observer deployment
BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun said Wednesday that he welcomed the deployment of European Union election observers to monitor the upcoming parliamentary race, during a meeting with EU officials in Baabda Palace.

Lebanon is “looking forward to the elections as an accurate expression of the Lebanese desire to practice democracy,” Aoun said, according to a statement released by his press office, adding that the newly introduced proportional vote law would “serve popular representation.”

He also vowed that Lebanese authorities would work to fight corruption that might occur in the lead up to and during the May 6 polling.

The new electoral law, implemented for the first time this election, operates on a proportional vote, rather than a majority, winner-takes-all system that was utilized in previous elections. The latter is widely seen as a system that has kept longstanding parties in power.

The European Union election observers will watch the elections unfold at polling stations across the country, head of the EU's Election Observation Mission Elena Valenciano said during the meeting with Aoun. Also present at the meeting was EU Ambassador to Lebanon Christina Lassen.

The election monitoring mission would “remain until the end of the elections to report on the progress of the electoral process and submit a final report,” Valenciano said. Observation will take place, she said, “in coordination” with the Interior Ministry, with EU representatives in place to receive any complaints.

The EU also plans to send observers to Lebanese embassies and diplomatic missions in Europe to monitor expatriate voting.

Valenciano and Lassen also met later Wednesday with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut to discuss the upcoming elections, according to a statement released by Bassil’s press office.

Bassil reportedly requested an extension of the EU election observation mission to non-EU countries that have significant numbers of registered expatriate voters, including in the Americas and the Arab world.

The Bassil and Aoun meetings came a day after the EU deployed 24 long-term observers to 12 different locations across Lebanon.

Each pair will “observe all aspects of the electoral process” and meet with electoral officials to ensure transparency, EU Electoral Observation Mission Deputy Chief Observer Jose Antonio de Gabriel said in a statement Tuesday. Additional observers are set to arrive in time for election day, May 6.

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