Salafranca Hails Electorate”s “Sincere Engagement,” Says Reforms Are Needed

Salafranca Hails Electorate”s “Sincere Engagement,” Says Reforms Are Needed

Lebanon”s parliamentary election was devoid of any major irregularities but reforms are needed to ensure more transparency and better representation, the European Union said on Friday in its final report on the polls.

"While June”s parliamentary elections benefited from legal improvements introduced last year, work still remains to be done to bring Lebanon”s electoral system into line with the country”s international commitments," Jose Ignacio Salafranca, who led the EU”s observation mission to the vote on June 7, told a press conference at the Movenpick hotel in Beirut.

"The high voter turnout at the parliamentary polls showed a sincere engagement by the electorate in the process," said Salafranca, a Spanish member of the European Parliament who led a team of 100 EU observers.

"I encourage all citizens to take an active interest in further electoral reforms which have the support of a wide spectrum of civil society and political leaders," he added.

Among the 36 recommendations made by the EU is for Lebanon to gradually reduce emphasis on confessionalism in the electoral system, introduce a degree of proportionality, the use of officially printed ballots, and establish an independent election management body as well as better representation for women.

The report also noted that a law that prevents Lebanese women from passing on their citizenship if married to a foreign national was discriminatory as it barred their offspring from voting.

Out of 587 candidates in the run-up to the vote, 12 were women and only four were elected to the 128-seat parliament.


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