BEIRUT: Officials urged Wednesday Lebanese living abroad to register to vote for the 2013 elections before Dec. 31 as preparations were under way to finalize the expatriate voting mechanism.
“I urge Lebanese living outside [Lebanon] to register their names at embassies and consulates and they have until Dec. 31 of this year according to the electoral law currently in effect,” Interior Minister Marwan Charbel told reporters.
His comments came after meeting in Beirut with Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour and Haitham Jomaa, the director general of the Department of Emmigrants at the Foreign Ministry.
Mansour, who also called on expats to register their names for the upcoming parliamentary elections, said the number of registered voters was “too small” given that there “are over 2 million Lebanese living outside the country.”
"This call is the one before the last for Lebanese in the five continents to register their names before the end of the year because after Dec.31, 2012, it will be difficult to receive requests from embassies and consulates,” he said.
Mansour has said that there are only 3,000 Lebanese that have registered to vote since the mechanism to allow expats to participate in elections was approved by Cabinet earlier this year.
Charbel also met with U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly and the two discussed the Interior Ministry’s preparations for next year’s elections in collaboration with the U.N.
“We also discussed today the preparations for next year’s parliamentary elections and the technical assistance the United Nations has been extending to the Ministry of Interior in that regard,” Plumbly said, according to a statement from his office.
He added that both of them agreed on the importance of the elections being held on time and within the constitutional timeline set for June 2013.
“The Minister briefed me on all the steps the ministry was taking to ensure the elections did indeed take place on time,” the U.N. official said.