111 Lebanese Women Enthusiastic to Participate in the Lebanese elections

It is not usual in a country their deputies refuse to approve women’s quotas allowing women’s participation in parliament to have 111 women candidate for elections. And Lebanon is ranked 180th in the world of women in parliaments, and this shows that women who have participated in parliament are very few compared to other countries. The number of women who have entered the parliamentary debate since 1953, the year in which women were granted the right to vote and start for election, to count only ten. The scales of 2018 lists overturned to occupy the name of 111 women in the electoral lists.

Lebanon had his first women MP Mirna al-Butani was elected by acclamation in 1963, replacing her father the businessman and MP Emile al-Bustani. Little did the Lebanese know that they will have to wait 28 years for that to happen again? Until 1991, Naela Moawad was the new women in parliament who was appointed after the assassination of her husband, President Rene Moawad. In 2018 , do women enter the parliament without the daughters, wives, and sisters of politicians?

As the next election approaches, on the 6th of May 2018, after five years of the extension of the current council, Lebanese women are seeking to win parliamentary seats and participate in legislative life, in light of the refusal to approve the quota of women in the election law of 2017.

According to 2016 statistics there are 1,841,089 voters women represents 50.8% of the total electorate, and in the last parliamentary elections in 2009, 51.9% of them voted. After only six women candidates in the 1992 elections, more than 100 Lebanese women are preparing to run for the 2018 elections, which is a remarkable progress that clearly shows the increased awareness of Lebanese women of their participation in political life and their right to prove their legislative role.

What we can notice is that only about ten female candidates are known, they are either of political families or they work in the field of journalism. A big number of the female candidates come from modest families to represent the majority of the Lebanese people. In an interview with Joumana Attallah Saloum, she is writer, journalist, university professor and activist for twenty years for human rights, equality, freedom of expression, marginalized groups and human dignity, and now one of the female candidates for the parliamentary elections for the minority seat in Beirut I. She talked about her elections project by saying, “I will tell you my story, my story is my project to represent Lebanese people in the Parliament.” What she said was a sign that her electoral platform was built from the humble house she was raised in, as she said, “what I have achieved in my life of modest achievements has never made me forget that I belong to the environment in which I came out, and which I have honor to remain and share its voice and concerns.”

On the other side, some of the female candidates receive high political support and some support their campaigns with funding and spend a lot of money for meetings and announcements. The tv show “ Talk of the Town” hosted Paula Yacoubian a candidate for the Armenian seat- Orthodox and when she was asked about the amount of money paid so far for her electoral program the answer was about a hundred thousand dollars so far. According to the Lebanese Law under the article 56, a candidate may spend for hisher campaign money from his/her own funds and all money paid are subjected to the expenditure ceiling. The question here raises the question of the fate of candidates who are not politically supported and of modest families?

In an interview with the journalist Jessica Azar, one of the female candidates for the parliamentary elections, she said,” the journalist is ultimately a Lebanese citizen with all rights, including the right to run for parliamentary elections. The journalist may also serve as an example for ordinary Lebanese, many of whom believe that the world of politics is limited to children of traditional leaders and their relatives. I also wanted to take this experience to serve my country and contribute to real change and reform and urge young people to do the same.”

Jessica referred herself to the candidates who are not politically supported and who are not capitalists. She referred to them and say,” let your faith be greater than the desire of the Lebanese to change, which they expressed more than once, especially through mobility in the street in response to the waste crisis, from here there should be no place for despair or weakness and be confident in yourselves.”

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