Socialist International welcomes the outcome of Lebanese elections

20 June 2005

The Socialist International welcomed today the victory in the parliamentary elections of the political alliance at the centre of the agenda for democracy, independence and political change in Lebanon, following the fourth and final round of elections held in the North of the country this weekend.

"The fact that the issues that have mobilised the Lebanese people during the last four months are at the top of the priorities for the new majority in parliament is a good thing for democracy, for the region, and for Lebanon" said SI Secretary General Luis Ayala in Beirut today.

Socialist International representatives, who followed different rounds of the elections held over the last four Sundays, were present in Beirut, Mount Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and cities of the North, including Tripoli and Zgharta. SI observers, which also included Paulina Lampsa and Costas Stefanidis (Pasok, Greece); and Luca Cefisi (SDI, Italy), witnessed an election in which there were no significant incidents and which was, in their view, characterised by citizen and voter participation and enthusiasm, in an atmosphere of respect and tolerance.

On the occasion of the final round of the elections, SI representatives held talks with the leadership of the SI member party in that country, the Progressive Socialist Party, PSP, including its leader Walid Jumblatt and its Secretary General Charif Fayad; with the leader of the ‘Future Movement’, Saad Hariri, son of the assassinated former Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, and with the outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

At a press conference in Beirut today the Socialist International representatives highlighted the civic conduct of the Lebanese people both during the mass demonstrations which succeeded in bringing about peaceful democratic change in Lebanon, and during the month-long electoral process. They welcomed the outcome of the elections and the clear majority won by the Alliance, which includes the Future Movement, the SI-member Progressive Socialist Party, and others, as a new beginning for Lebanon.