Vote’s over, join hands

Election officials count ballots shortly after the polling stations closed, in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, May 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Lebanon went to the polls Sunday under a controversial new voting system that has reduced the number of districts and allowed expats to vote abroad for the first time, not to mention the 800,000 under-30s who exercised their right to vote for the first time, and with voters expressing their support and loyalty to various political parties with their ballots.

But that was yesterday. Today is a different day and all Lebanese must stand under a single banner, the Lebanese flag.

With the country’s first elections in nine years behind us, it’s imperative that we rechannel all our efforts toward addressing Lebanon’s prevailing problems, including the ailing economy, rampant unemployment, archaic infrastructure and the heavy refugee burden.

In the tense regional climate, divisions should come to an end and all must pitch in to protect the roof of our country’s unity, independence and sovereignty, which has warded off any spillover of violence from the Syria conflict and brought relative stability to Lebanon.

To show they are deserving of their victories in the polls and that they truly represent their constituents’ dreams and aspirations, parliamentarians are called upon to enact suggested reforms in order to put into action what the government has paved the way for by securing international aid pledges.

The ultimate goal is to raise Lebanon to the next level by tackling the mounting public debt, poor public services and decaying laws, as well as cementing its democratic identity so that the Lebanese can prove to the world their penchant for democracy and passion for independence.

In this context, the new members of Parliament have to prove their worthiness to enter Nijmeh Square as genuine representatives of the people rather than representatives of their parties and interests, in the process shedding all affiliation to outside powers.

Hopefully our country is witnessing a new political dawn. Lebanon has voted and it’s essential that winners and losers alike respect the will of the people. Let us act from outside the box to build a new Lebanon that future generations will be proud of.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 07, 2018, on page 1.




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