EU to Send Observers to Lebanon for Elections


The European Union will send election observers to monitor Lebanon's May 15 parliamentary polls, at the invitation of the Lebanese government, the bloc's foreign service said on Wednesday.

The team's chief observer, Gyoergy Hoelvenyi, said in a statement it will be the fourth time the EU has sent observers to Lebanon, after previous missions in 2005, 2009 and 2018.

Lebanon is in the grip of an economic crisis that has generated public fury against its politicians, many of whom are seen as corrupt.

Four out of five Lebanese live below the poverty line, according to the U.N.

Blackouts are frequent, the currency has lost about 90 percent of its value over the past two years and the country in 2020 defaulted on its sovereign debt.

The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the dispatch of the observer mission underlined Europe's support of Lebanese democracy.

"The holding of elections is first and foremost a right and an expectation of the people of Lebanon, as well as a sovereign responsibility that the Lebanese government must follow through," he said.

The core part of the observer mission, comprising 10 experts, is to arrive in Beirut next month, the EU statement said.

In April, another 30 members will join them and deploy to regions to monitor campaigns.

In May, 40 short-term observers will arrive close to election day to watch polling, voting and counting.

The mission plans to hold a Beirut media conference within 48 hours of polling to give its preliminary assessment.

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