The Lebanese Prime Minister announced on Monday that he did not plan to stand as a candidate in the legislative elections scheduled for May. Najib Mikati said in a televised speech that he wanted to allow the new generation to express themselves and define their options through the election, and he called on Lebanese citizens to go to the polls, calling the process ” national duty” not to be neglected. .
Mikati’s announcement comes weeks after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced he was retiring from politics and that his Future Movement party would not field any candidates in the May elections. “There is no room for a positive opportunity for Lebanon in light of Iranian influence, international confusion, national division, bigotry and state fatigue,” Hariri said. .
However, Hariri is still considered the most prominent representative of the Sunni community in multi-faith Lebanon, even though Mikati comes from Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city, which is predominantly Sunni.
Lebanon witnessed a massive popular uprising in October, with protesters calling for the downfall of the political class. The people blame politicians for the financial and economic crises and corruption that have devastated state institutions. The popular protests lasted a few months, but have since died down.
Analysts do not expect the legislative elections to bring a major change in Lebanese politics, which has been in crisis for more than two years. The electoral law, they say, is designed to serve powerful and deeply rooted parties, to whom the election will not change much.
Some experts believe that Hariri’s absence from the scene in a country where the political system is based on sectarian quotas can benefit his opponents, particularly the Shiite Hezbollah movement. Hezbollah is likely to back Sunni lawmakers close to it, allowing it to control a majority in parliament.
READ: Young Lebanese drop out of education as crisis rages