SUN 24 - 6 - 2018
Mar 12, 2018
The Daily Star
Lebanon: Fresh faces galore as Hariri announces MP candidates
Kataeb for civil marriage law in program
BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri Sunday announced 37 Future Movement candidates, including four women, for the May 6 elections at a rally in Downtown Beirut.
“Your votes in the upcoming elections will be the answer to a simple question: Do you want this project to continue?” he asked the audience at the packed BIEL conference hall. “If you give your votes to Future candidates, you will have given your votes to me, Saad Rafik Hariri, and [be giving] the Future Movement the responsibility to continue the movement and the possibility to continue this movement.”
As Hariri has long promised, his electoral list included a number of women and younger candidates as well as political heavyweights like former Prime Minister MP Tammam Salam, Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury and Labor Minister MP Mohammad Kabbara.
Although parties failed to agree to add a women’s quota to the new proportional electoral law agreed to last year, Hariri said his Future Movement would include a number of women in prominent positions. In addition to his aunt, Sidon MP Bahia Hariri who is widely expected to keep her seat, Hariri announced three new female candidates. There are currently only four women in Parliament.
Most notably absent from the Future candidates were former Prime Minister MP Fouad Siniora – who ruled himself out as a candidate – current Telecoms Minister MP Jamal Jarrah and former Interim Interior Minister MP Ahmad Fatfat.
In Beirut II, Hariri announced that former pro-Future independent MP Salam, current Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk and MP Ghazi Youssef would continue as candidates. The son of former MP Walid Eido – who was assassinated in 2007 – Zaher Eido will also stand for the party in the Beirut II district.
“Whoever likes Saad [Hariri], should vote for Future Movement lists wherever they are, in all districts,” the prime minister said as he announced the party candidates in front of Future’s elections slogan, “We are the evil eye charm that protects Lebanon,” which included a picture of the blue talisman common across the region.
There are 10 candidates from Beirut II, 11 from Tripoli-Minyeh-Dinnieh and six from Akkar. Hariri notably did not announce any candidates for either the Beirut I or Baabda electoral districts. The Future Movement will look to grab one, if not both, Sunni seats from Baalbeck-Hermel, which is traditionally dominated by an alliance between Hezbollah and the Amal Movement.
Hariri also said that the electoral list and alliances would be announced at a later date.
MP Okab Sakr was not announced as a candidate for the Future Movement. The Zahle MP, who occupies a Shiite seat, was seen as a controversial figure during Hariri’s resignation fiasco last November. However, the prime minister said more candidates for Zahle would be announced and Sakr was present at the event Sunday.
Kataeb for civil marriage law in program
BEIRUT: The Kataeb party launched its 131-point 2018 electoral program Sunday with a vow to tackle some of the country’s most heated topics. The “Pulse of Change” electoral program was announced at an event hosted by the party in Nahr al-Kalb. The platform covers issues related to security, foreign policy, economy, society and environment.
The program included controversial proposals, including plans for a civil marriage law and extending the reach of the Lebanese Army into Palestinian refugee camps, which despite the Lebanese government unilaterally annulling the Cairo accord 1987 are still regulated by Palestinian authorities.
“We weren’t scared of choosing controversial topics to tackle in our program. We are not afraid of debate. We won’t back down on Lebanon’s absolute sovereignty and neutrality,” head of the party Sami Gemayel said at the launch.
“The program additionally tackles civil marriage and the right of women to pass their Lebanese citizenship on to their children ... But everything will remain a mere slogan if there are no men who support this project,” Gemayel added.
During the event, head of Kataeb’s Economic Council Jean Tawila presented the economic items on the list, while Rita Boulos from the party’s political bureau explained the environmental files.
Kataeb’s environmental plan aims to impose strict fines on factories that do not make use of filters to reduce their environmental impact, to provide government incentives for sorting waste and recycling and to allocate municipality funds for sorting plants.
The program additionally includes plans to map out Lebanon’s borders with satellites and establish a ministry for expatriates.
After going through the details of the new program, Gemayel called on the public to be critical when casting their electoral vote for the May 6 elections.
“These elections are the uprising of public opinion, holding accountable every politician who considers himself above accountability and doesn’t believe in public opinion.”
In February, Gemayel explained his party’s choice of slogan, promising that Kataeb will be the “pulse of real change in political life.” Launching the campaign, he said that the party had “transformed” after its resignation from the government of Tammam Salam in 2016 and refusal to join the current government, to become a “real opposition.”
The party has not yet announced its candidates for the parliamentary elections.
Sabaa party announces candidates
BEIRUT: The Sabaa party Sunday announced its 20 candidates running for the May 6 parliamentary elections, promising a fresh alternative to Lebanon’s traditional political parties and to create “a new generation of leaders.” In a televised event, the new party pledged to fully disclose its candidates’ assets in a commitment to transparency and to steer clear of outside influences.
The Sabaa candidates took to the stage, alongside their families, to announce their goals and focuses. In line with the party’s appeal to Lebanon’s younger generation, each candidate spoke about their children and stressed the importance of securing their future in the country.
“I don’t see a future for my kids unless there is change ... Sabaa will work on bringing this change,” Fadwa Fayiz Nassif, one of the party’s candidates for the Orthodox seat in Koura, said.
Nassif, who described herself as an environmental activist, announced the party’s vows. “We pledge to stay far from sectarianism. We won’t accept to be dependent on any foreign state. We will aim to become a civil state, working with full transparency and combating corruption.”
She also promised the full public disclosure of the candidates’ assets, before giving the stage to the party’s “star,” one of Lebanon’s leading media personalities, Paula Yacoubian.
“For decades people have been ... protesting and demanding change, but without results. Sabaa isn’t a movement that simply demands change, it’s a comprehensive transformative movement. It will create a new generation of leaders,” said Yacoubian, who is running for an Armenian Orthodox seat in Beirut.
She addressed campaign banners put up by prominent parties promising change and criticized that so far the parties have failed to fulfill their pre-election promises. “You have plenty of funds [for campaigns], but your failure is evident ... Change isn’t a slogan you can hang on a billboard.”
The Sabaa party came to the front after the “You Stink” protests against the garbage crisis, and was led by young political activists that aimed to combat sectarianism, corruption and nepotism they claimed corrupted the established political parties in the country.
The party gained more exposure after Yacoubian joined, announcing Sabaa as “the first political” party to which she has belonged.
Minister warns public employees not to campaign
BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk Sunday reminded public sector employees that it was forbidden for them to campaign for any candidate in the upcoming election, a statement from his media office said. Employees of the government, public institutions, municipalities and municipality unions, including contractors, are barred from campaigning or publicly supporting any candidate by Article 77 of the Electoral Law. The article also prohibits the use of government departments and public institutions and facilities from hosting campaign activities.
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