Lebanon: elections, record low turnout around 41%

Due to economic-financial crisis, impact of pandemic, analysts

16 May, 15:05

    BEIRUT - Before final results are announced in legislative elections held Sunday in Lebanon, turnout was reported to hit a record low at 41% nationally, the Lebanese interior ministry said Sunday night. Turnout was 49% in elections in 2018 and 55% in 2009. Between legislative elections in 2018 and the vote held on Sunday, several local and global events contributed to the low turnout, according to local analysts: first of all, the start of an unprecedented financial crisis in the history of the country, and the pandemic with its international and internal repercussions. Additional factors were the devastating explosion of Beirut's port in August 2020, in which 250 people were killed, and the ensuing massive emigration of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese from a country where 80% of the population lives in poverty, according to the UN.

    According to data provided by the interior ministry, the constituency with the highest turnout was Mount Lebanon, with 55.93%, while in the Christian-majority Beirut1, the lowest turnout was registered, with just 28.50%. On the other side of Beirut, with a Muslim majority, the rate sensibly rose to 38.33%. In the Bekaa valley a different turnout was registered: in the southern district (Bekaa 2), only 34.20% of would-be voters cast their ballots, while in the central part (Bekaa 1) the percentage rose to 43.20%, growing in the northern part (Bekaa 3), with 48.90%. Southern Lebanon, a traditional feud of the Shiite alliance Hezbollah-Amal, the reported turnout varied between 41.76% and 42.30%. In the northern region of Tripoli, the other main city of the country known to be one of the most impoverished areas of the Middle East, turnout was low at 30.60%.

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