THU 14 - 11 - 2019
Apr 2, 2019
The Daily Star
Lebanon: Eight candidates enter Tripoli by-election
BEIRUT: The candidate filing period for an upcoming by-election in Tripoli has closed with eight people in the running, a statement from the Interior Ministry said Saturday morning.
The by-election, slated for April 14, was called for after former Future Movement MP Dima Jamali was removed from her post based on an appeal of last year’s parliamentary elections that was filed with the Constitutional Council.
According to the statement, by the midnight deadline, eight candidates had registered: Jamali, former MP Misbah Ahdab, Yahya Mawloud, Talal Kabbara, Omar al-Sayyed, Hamed Amcha, Mahmoud al-Samadi and Samer Kabbara, the nephew of MP Mohammad Kabbara. Jamali is expected to win back her seat after her main potential challenger, Taha Naji, announced Friday he would boycott the election.
Constitutional Council head to sue Dima Jamali for defamation
BEIRUT: Constitutional Council head Issam Sleiman announced Monday that he plans to sue former MP Dima Jamali for defamation after a leaked video surfaced of her accusing the council of accepting bribes to annul her election.
The Constitutional Council unseated Jamali from her Tripoli parliamentary seat on Feb. 21, the result of an appeal by unsuccessful candidate Taha Naji, who ran on MP Faisal Karami’s National Dignity list in the May 2018 parliamentary elections.
While the court found that Naji had indeed won in the May 2018 national elections - by a single vote - it ordered a new election rather than naming him Jamali’s replacement. Naji has thus decided to boycott the by-election, while Jamali is running to regain the seat and is considered the heavy favorite.
In the leaked video, which surfaced earlier in the day on social media, Jamali, who is affiliated with Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement, is seen speaking to a group of supporters about the election.
“There have been clear political interventions. Money was paid to the Constitutional Council to change its decision regarding the appeal. ... This was a direct message to Premier Hariri.”
Sleiman announced his decision to sue Jamali during a brief interview with local TV channel Al Jadeed, saying he would submit the lawsuit Tuesday.
He dismissed the bribery allegations. "Who is going to pay money to the Constitutional Council? ... If this [the court’s decision] was message against Hariri, [Naji] would’ve have been appointed.”
In a statement addressing the leaked video, Jamali underscored that she respected the “decisions of the Lebanese state and its legitimate institutions. ... The video was just a clip and what was said in it was just a political discussion about the pressure that the Constitutional Council’s members were subjected to.”
The Tripoli by-election is slated for April 14. Seven other candidates have registered: former MP Misbah Ahdab, Yahya Mawloud, Talal Kabbara, Omar al-Sayyed, Hamed Amcha, Mahmoud al-Samadi and Samer Kabbara, the nephew of MP Mohammad Kabbara.
The deadline for candidates to withdraw is April 3.
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