SUN 18 - 2 - 2018
Date: Jan 25, 2018
Source: The Daily Star

Folder: Elections
Lebanon: Electoral committee talks election preparations with EU's Lassen
BEIRUT: European Union Ambassador Christina Lassen led a delegation to meet the president of the electoral supervisory committee Judge Nadim Abdel-Malek Wednesday to see the body’s new headquarters and talk about technical and logistical preparations for May’s election.

According to a statement, Abdel-Malek briefed Lassen on the work of the body, outlined by the new electoral law to oversee and monitor political campaigning, spending and the conduct of the polling, and he told the European delegation that the committee would work with integrity, neutrality and independence while following the rules and regulations of the new electoral law in order to ensure transparent and fair vote.

However, he said that there were some additional needs.

“In order to be able to carry out the process of supervision and monitoring correctly, with credibility and efficiency, the committee is in need of technical [skills] and employees,” Abdel-Malek said. “The committee is also in need of the appropriate funds that are still not available, taking into consideration that the political campaign will start in the next two weeks.”

Lassen responded by stating the European Union’s position that elections should be held in a fair and timely manner. Lassen also praised the role of the committee and work achieved so far, stressing the importance of transparency in the electoral process and preventing bribes.

Lassen and Abdel-Malek also reportedly discussed the areas of expertise of each of the electoral body’s board.

The delegation toured the body’s new headquarters to see the arrangements for May’s election and their work on social media monitoring. The statement added that Lassen took note of the needs of the committee to keep up with the electoral process.

In September, President Michel Aoun signed a Cabinet decree to officially appoint the 11 members of the electoral supervisory committee as per the new electoral law agreed by the major parties last summer after years of wrangling.

Judge Nadim Abdel-Malek was appointed president of the committee, while George Mourani was selected as the vice-president, with nine remaining members each chosen from different organizations.

Aoun’s signed a decree Monday to officially designate May 6 as Election Day.

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