Geneva – Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor followed up on the electoral process in Lebanon and has documented several irregularities that occurred during the last stage of the elections, which include residents of all electoral districts inside Lebanon.
According to the schedule, the polls were opened on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in 15 Electoral districts. We monitored a number of violations that took place:
- Some polling station staff did not have sufficient knowledge of the Parliamentary Election Law, as they did not intervene to prevent some grave violations committed by some voters, list delegates, and candidates, possibly affecting the integrity of the electoral process and the accuracy of results in those centers. Before the elections, civil institutions called on the Ministry of Interior to train the polling station staff, but the ministry did not respond. As such, the elections took place with a large number of incompetent polling station staff.
- Candidates' delegates repeatedly gathered outside and inside polling stations and launched selected forms of propaganda and influence on voters, in violation of the electoral silence.
- In many cases, lists delegates alleged that some voters did not know the voting mechanisms and entered behind the isolation barrier in violation of the principle of the secrecy of the ballot.
- Obstacles in front of civil society observers were repeatedly placed to the extent that some observers were beaten or expelled from the polling stations. For example, the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) complained that a number of its observers were subjected to pressure, as they were asked to leave the area in Tyre and Saksakieh. LADE also reported harassment against its workers in the villages of Sidon and Chekka in Batroun. It also said that it was forced to withdraw its observers from several polling stations: Ramadi in Tyre after they were threatened by representatives of the Amal movement; Mazraat Et Tout in Baalbek after they were threatened by representatives of Hezbollah; and Kafr Melki in Saida after they were threatened by a representative of Hezbollah.
- Elections were suspended at polling station 33 in Al-Ram in Baalbek, and papers from registers 34 to 50 were destroyed due to a quarrel among voters.
- The electoral process in Al-Bireh in Akkar stopped for about two hours due to a shooting in one of the polling stations after the head and the clerk of the polling station were attacked.
- People with mobility disabilities faced many difficulties inside the polling stations due to the lack of suitable places for them.
- A voter was prevented from voting in Ain Enoub in Aley under the pretext that he had already voted, even though he had not.
- Election staff were assaulted by individuals who tried to take pictures, accompany voters, or influence them. This led to confusion in the electoral process, such as the attack on the head of polling station 4 in the town of Al- Bire Akkar because she prevented someone from taking a picture during the polls.
- Repeated shortages of election supplies and papers caused the electoral process to be disrupted. For example, the mayor of Hrajel, Tony Zgheib, said that the election process in polling stations 1 and 2 for females was disrupted after the 150 polling lists secured in the morning ran out. The two polling stations contained about 500 voters. Consequently, the polling process was halted until the required additional copies were secured.
- The head of the polling station or the clerk was absent in several polling stations.
- In several polling stations, the isolation barriers did not provide privacy for the voters and therefore did not guarantee the silence of the ballot, which constitutes a violation of the fourth paragraph of Article 95 of the Elections Law regarding the silence of the ballot. Additionally, lists' delegates escorted many voters behind the barrier under the pretext of illiteracy, without verifying the necessity of their escort or recording this incident in the records.
- Electricity cuts were reported in many polling centers in Sidon, causing voters to use their phones for lighting, which may have led to photocopying of the ballot papers.
- Electricity cuts were reported during the evening counting process in several polling stations, one of which is within the Beirut I district, which may lead to confusion in the counting process or tampering with its results.
- Female voters in the 567 female polling station voted without the head of the polling station and the clerk signing the ballot slip from behind.
- Five LADE observers were prevented from attending the counting process after the polls were closed until 8 p.m. inside the polling stations and in the primary registration committee in Beirut.
Euro-Med Monitor called on the election supervisory body in Lebanon to investigate all violations that accompanied the electoral process and to take the necessary legal requirements in a way that guarantees the integrity and transparency of the elections and the accuracy of their results.