Lebanon judicial body 'defies Hezbollah, Amal pressure' and rejects five electoral appeals

Lebanon judicial body 'defies Hezbollah, Amal pressure' and rejects five electoral appeals
The Lebanese judicial body charged with resolving electoral disputes has rejected appeals made by five losing candidates despite alleged pressure from Hezbollah and Amal.
2 min read
21 October, 2022
Five lawmakers will keep their parliamentary seats after the council's rejection of losing candidates' appeals [Getty/archive]

Lebanon's Constitutional Council Thursday rejected five appeals made by candidates who lost in May's parliamentary elections, despite alleged "pressure" from Hezbollah and Amal.

Speaking from the council's headquarters in the Beirut suburb of Hadath, the head of the judicial body, Judge Tannous Mechleb, announced the names of the five MPs who will keep their parliamentary seats until the next elections, scheduled in 2026.

Elias Khoury and Jamil Abboud from the northern Tripoli district, Bilal al-Hushaimi from the eastern Zahle district, Saeed al-Asmar from the southern Jezzine district, as well as independent lawmaker Firas Hamdan from the southern Hasbaya district will all retain their seats after challenges by rival candidates.

Hamdan is among at least 13 candidates to emerge from the popular uprising which began in October 2019 against the country’s confessional-based ruling elite, which has been in power for decades.

He held a press conference after the decisions were announced, thanking the Constitutional Council for its "independence and transparency".

Judge Mechleb said the decisions were final and not subject to review.

He added that the Shia Hezbollah and Amal Movement parties - who ran in joint lists in the polls - tried to pressure the council into accepting the appeal against Hamdan, submitted by banker and former minister Marwan Kheireddine.

The five rejected appeals are among a total of 15 filed and were the "easiest" to investigate as they had no serious legal basis and did not require the recounting of votes, according to Mechleb.

He said the results of the remaining appeals will be announced next week and will include candidates from across the country.

Losing candidates who wish to submit appeals are legally required to do so within a month of the elections, which took place on 15 May.

Lebanon's May elections were the first vote since the massive 2019 protests, the devastating August 2020 Beirut Port blast, and the financial and economic meltdown the country countinues to suffer.

With a majority of members absent in every sitting, Lebanon’s parliament has failed three times to elect a new president, raising fears of a political vacuum.

Current President Michel Aoun’s six-year term ends on October 31.