This statement is offered by an international delegation organized by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The delegation visited Lebanon from April 11-14, 2016. The delegation’s goals were to:
- Assess the current political and electoral environment in the lead-up to the May municipal council and mayoral elections;
- Assess preparations for the elections and offer recommendations to enhance citizen confidence in the process; and
- Demonstrate international support for Lebanon’s democratic process.
The delegation was comprised of Meg Munn, former Member of Parliament and Minister in the United Kingdom; Paul Dewar, former Member of the Canadian Parliament; Rafik Halouani, General Coordinator of the Mourakiboun election observation network from Tunisia; and Leslie Campbell, NDI’s Senior Associate and Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
The delegation held meetings in Beirut with candidates and parties participating in the municipal council and mayoral elections from across the political spectrum; officials of the Ministry of the Interior and Municipalities (MOIM); domestic observer groups; members of parliament; journalists; and women and youth civic groups. The delegation conducted its activities in accordance with the laws of Lebanon and international standards outlined in the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation.
The Institute recognizes that, ultimately, it will be the people of Lebanon who will determine the credibility of their elections and the country’s democratic development. The delegation therefore offers this pre-election statement in the spirit of supporting and strengthening democratic institutions and processes in Lebanon.
The delegation wishes to express its appreciation to the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) of the U.S. Department of State, which funded the work of this delegation and supports NDI’s democracy assistance programs in Lebanon. The delegation is also grateful to all those who contributed valuable time to share their views freely. Their perspectives have made possible the work of the delegation. NDI stands ready to continue to assist Lebanese efforts to build and sustain democratic practices, institutions, and values.