BEIRUT: A poll released Thursday revealed that the majority of Lebanese regard the Army as the most trustworthy official institution in the country, while Parliament and the Cabinet scored the lowest rating on the trust index.
“When people lose faith in Parliament and government they need another institution to turn to, and in this case they turned to the Army,” said Yara Nassar, the executive director of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, which carried out the poll.
The Lebanese Armed Forces scored seventy percent trust in comparison to only four percent for Parliament and six percent for the government.
More than half of the respondents said that they do not trust the government at all.
According to Nassar, most people view the Army as the last cohesive institution in the country that is both legitimate and representative of the general population.
“People turn to the Army because they are in fact craving a government,” said Nassar.
LADE polled over nine thousand people to come up with its findings, which were announced Thursday at a news conference in the Monroe Hotel in Downtown Beirut.
The report revealed that not only did a majority of Lebanese not trust Parliament, they also rejected the looming extension of its mandate.
Half of the respondents believed that extending Parliament’s mandate was not justifiable, while just twelve percent said it was.
The majority of those who found that Parliament could justifiably extend its term cited security concerns as the primary reason.
Nassar said that if the poll were conducted again today, the number opposed to the extension would likely be even higher.
“The general opposition to it increases the closer the situation gets,” she said.
However, if Parliamentary elections are held, more than half of the respondents said that they would vote, compared to 34 percent who said they would not bother.
The regions that registered the most willingness to vote were North Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. Mount Lebanon was the least willing to vote.
Nassar said that political participation is relatively high in the North and the Bekaa due to very strong party affiliation as well as services offered by political parties to their constituencies in those regions.
The majority of respondents who said that they wouldn’t vote in upcoming elections said they believed that elections would not change anything.
“This is because the electoral law hasn’t changed,” said Nassar, arguing that many respondents believed that elections could induce a change if conducted under new legislation.
Parliament extended its term for 17 months last May citing security circumstances, particularly in Tripoli, and lawmakers' inability to agree on a new electoral law to replace the controversial '1960 Law'.
The extension prompted broad condemnation and pushed Lebanese civil society activists to hold demonstrations near the Parliament building in Downtown Beirut.
Parliament now faces another possible extension, as a new law has still not been agreed upon and several parties are boycotting Parliament.