BEIRUT: Eighty-nine percent of respondents in a recent poll said they trusted the Lebanese Armed Forces to ensure the country’s stability, while 80% felt the same about religious leaders and 75% about the justice system.
In contrast, only 19% of those polled – regardless of their religious beliefs – believed that political parties could be trusted to provide stability.
On Hezbollah, opinions were divided. The poll, conducted by Zogby Research Services, found that 48% of respondents trusted him to ensure Lebanon’s stability, while 52% did not trust him.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents expressed the belief that “weapons and resistance forces should be under the control of the FAL and this includes a majority of respondents in every sectarian community.”
The poll was carried out in September, 10 days after the formation of Najib Mikati’s government. Respondents were adults from various Lebanese regions and sects, and all expressed optimism about the future despite the current situation being worse than it was five years ago.
A total of 869 people were asked about their opinion on the economic crisis in Lebanon, how it has affected citizens and their level of trust in state institutions. They also gave their point of view on Lebanon’s relations with other countries, the political regime and their hopes for the next legislative elections.
Speaking at an event organized by the AUB Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs, which was also attended by Arab News, James Zogby, owner of the polling company, said: “Developments facing Lebanon has been facing recently have led to breaking the existing regime which needs reform, but the political elite in power does not want to admit it.
Zogby, who is also the founder and president of the Arab American Institute, said the poll showed respondents had been badly affected by shortages of fuel (97%), electricity (89%) and electricity. drinking water (74%). More than a third of people said they had to go without food on some occasion, and one in five people from poor backgrounds said that they or members of their family had “very often missed meals because of of a lack of money or available food”.
“Nearly two-thirds said they didn’t have enough income to make ends meet. And when asked to identify the most pressing economic issues facing the country, by far the two issues they pointed to were the collapse of the lira (Lebanese pound) and corruption. Given this dire situation, nearly two-thirds of all respondents said they would emigrate if given the chance,” Zogby said.
He added that around 65% of respondents thought that the “Oct.
Seventy-six percent of respondents under the age of 30 were more confident in the revolution ensuring Lebanon’s stability.
When asked whether Lebanon should strengthen or weaken its ties with other countries, only France scored well, with respondents supporting stronger ties with Paris at a two-to-one ratio.
When it comes to the United States and Iran, one-third said ties should be strengthened, one-third said they should be weakened, and one-third said they should stay as they are.
Zogby said respondents “seemed optimistic about change in the upcoming parliamentary elections”, with nearly 60% expressing some confidence that they would “bring the political change Lebanon needs”.
This attitude may be due to the fact that two-thirds of respondents said they would vote for the “new alternative parties”, which holds true for all demographic groups. Only one in five said they would vote for traditional parties.
This rejection extends to the Taif agreement, with almost 60% saying that Lebanon should get rid of the Taif formula and “adopt a new constitutional model of governance”.
The poll results – which Dr. Fadlo Khoury, president of the American University of Beirut, said were based on reliable sources, and which were praised by Dr. Joseph Bahout, director of the Issam Fares Center for Public Policy and international affairs at AUB — also raised a number of questions.
Dr. Brigitte Khoury, founding director of the clinical psychology training program at AUH, said, “People need food and health security, in addition to security itself. Every day brings new challenges to the Lebanese, which prevents them from planning for the future or dreaming of a better future.
She added that after the Beirut port explosion, “people became more desperate and depressed, while the level of tension increased and people lost their power and control, and that’s the thing. the most difficult that a human being can face, and it could acquire a violent tendency, especially in people who experience shocking events.
Khoury said that if the “elections don’t take place, I fear that people will lose more power and control, especially if there is no justice or a strong legal system.”
Dr. Jamil Mouawad, a political scientist, expressed concern that “institutions the Lebanese continue to trust are being targeted by untrustworthy political powers. We see how the judicial and military institutions are besieged by politicians.
He was skeptical of the “possibility of the upcoming parliamentary elections producing promising changes if the ruling parties revert to sectarian polarization and the use of money.”
The Lebanese “should agree on a political plan to end the crisis and this is something that is not clear. And the question to be answered is what kind of political regime do the Lebanese want and what are we protesting against?
Mouawad said “those who participated in the October 17 revolution lack experience and should have history lessons to see what happened.”