Arab Economic News interviews Nouhad Mashnouk: Lebanon en route to equitable municipal elections

Interior and Municipalities Minister, Nouhad Mashnouk, said on Monday that Lebanon was on its way to equitable municipal elections, especially at the absence of foreign funding and a tough economic situation that will limit electoral spending.

“This will sure affect the way electoral campaigns will be held, and hence ensure a fair competition,” he said in an interview accorded to Arab Economic News magazine.

Mashnouk hoped that the municipal elections timing before the parliamentary deadline will reflect the way political parties will be dealing with legislative elections.

“The Ministry of Interior has been granted a $31 billion advance to cover the expenses of logistical and administrative preparations,” he added.

Mashnouk went on to disclose an advertisement campaign by the Ministry of Interior that will promote three messages: first, encouraging citizens to participate in elections by raising their awareness about the importance of this process; second, encouraging all the segments of society to vote; third, awareness on the means by which citizens should cast their votes in light of the existence of more than one balloting box for municipal and mayoral elections.

The Minister went on to explain that the municipal elections law didn’t set a ceiling for electoral expenditures the way the parliamentary electoral law did.

“Illegal expenditures will be traced through an operations room that will be established at the Ministry of Interior with a hot line, along with civil society committees that will also be observing the electoral process,” the Minister explained, making clear that his ministry has requested halting foreign aid in the benefit of municipalities during the electoral campaign in an attempt to avoid “electoral spending.”

Mashnouk also voiced support to an expanded decentralized administration which is capable of supporting development in different regions. He explained that the Syrian refugee crisis and the trash crisis that have been sweeping the nation have opened the citizens’ eyes to the important and dynamic role that a municipality could play in resolving many issues.

The Minister finally unveiled plans by the Ministry of Interior to develop municipal work, expressing reservations on the minimal role that women play in municipal work.

Source: National News Agency

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