BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk Saturday echoed similar remarks by fellow officials that the parliamentary election scheduled for November would most likely be postponed once again, saying the security situation would prevent the poll from being held.
"I told the speaker about the decree that I signed and presented to Cabinet calling on electoral committees to prepare for the election and prepare the list of eligible voters for Aug. 14, given that this is a Constitutional matter,” Machnouk told reporters after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri.
“As for extending the mandate, this decision is for the political authority and Cabinet to make. Therefore, I am concerned today with applying the law and seeing whether the security circumstances would allow us to hold the election.”
Machnouk said that the situation in the country as a result of conflicts in neighboring countries would discourage officials from holding the election.
“From my position as an interior minister, I do not think that the security situation allows for the election to be held in the next months,” he said.
“We are all seeing and living these security developments, as we observe the conflict reaching Lebanon. As a preliminary observation, the security situation will prevent the election from being held on time.”
Lebanon’s Parliament extended its mandate by a period of 17 months in May of last year, when elections had been set for June 2013. The extension came after politicians failed to draft a new electoral law to replace the 1960 law, which was outright rejected by all Christian parties.
Politicians argued then that the polls could not be held in light of the worsening security situation in the country, linked to the crisis in neighboring Syria.
Last year’s extension drew wide condemnations from civil society groups with some Lebanese tossing tomatoes at the vehicles of MPs as they made their way to Parliament to cast their ballot for the extension law.