A couple of days before Lebanon launches its general elections, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq urged voters and candidates on Wednesday to “abide by the law” to ensure a smooth electoral process.
“Our responsibility is to watch ourselves, and to ensure a calm electoral process similar to the municipal elections. We must learn from the elections abroad,” said Mashnouq from Zahle Serail in Eastern Lebanon.
Mashnouq, a candidate running in the Beirut second electoral district, added: “We stand completely neutral and represent the Lebanese state. I am confident that things are going the right way. We have been able to complete all needed preparations for the elections in three month.”
“Both, voters and candidates, have a responsibility to abide by the law in their movements and actions. Lately, the state’s image has significantly improved before outside countries,” he added.
The Minister pointed out that electronic vote counting will be a first for Lebanon, “it is much quicker in bringing the results out, but it won’t be easy because it is a first for Lebanon.”
“Instructions given to officers and officials are clear. Bribery will be addressed as a crime. All proactive measures were taken in that regard,” he added.
On whether citizens who have lost their identity cards can issue new ones, he said the ministry has halted issuing IDs ten days ago, for now. Mashnouq explained that voters are not allowed to carry their cellphones to the polling booth with them.
Lebanon will hold its first legislative elections in nine years on Sunday. The polls will be staged based on a new complex proportional representation system. A first in Lebanon’s history, Lebanese expats were able to cast their votes from abroad earlier in April.