Lebanon postpones municipal elections for the third year in a row due to violence in the south of the country

This is the third year in a row

Lebanon postpones municipal elections for the third year in a row due to violence in the south of the country

This is the third year in a row. The Lebanese Parliament decided on Thursday April 25 to postpone municipal elections scheduled for May, due to violence in the south of the country between Hezbollah and Israel. These municipal elections were initially scheduled for 2022. The two previous postponements had been blamed on the country's economic collapse.

Parliament “approved a law extending the mandate of municipal councils (…) until May 31, 2025 at the latest,” announced the National Information Agency (ANI, official). No new date has been set. The postponement was decided on the basis of a bill emphasizing that “Israeli aggression against Lebanon” made “the military, security and political situation complicated.” The President of Parliament, Nabih Berri, an ally of Hezbollah, considered that it was impossible to exclude southern Lebanon from holding the vote.

Since the start of the war in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas on October 7, Hezbollah has carried out almost daily attacks against Israel to support the Palestinian Islamist movement, its ally. The Israeli army responds by bombing deeper and deeper into Lebanese territory and carrying out targeted attacks against Hezbollah officials. This violence left 380 dead on the Lebanese side, mostly fighters from the Lebanese movement, as well as 72 civilians, according to a count by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Postponements of common ballots

Several parliamentary blocs contested the postponement of the vote, for which the pro-Iranian Hezbollah and its allies notably voted. The leader of the influential Christian Lebanese Forces party, Samir Geagea, denounced on X the fact of having “once again deprived the Lebanese of an opportunity to elect new municipal authorities”.

The functioning of municipalities has been largely paralyzed in recent years due to the economic collapse. Lebanon is supposed to hold municipal elections every six years. The last local elections took place in 2016. The postponement of elections was already common in Lebanon even before the country plunged, in 2019, into the economic crisis, coupled with a political crisis.

Without a President of the Republic since November 2022, Lebanon is led by a resigned government responsible for managing current affairs. The political class, in place for decades, is held responsible by a large part of the Lebanese for the economic collapse which pushed them into poverty.