Abu Dhabi: Lebanese expatriates are delighted they will be able to vote in 2013, but expressed mixed feelings regarding the new electoral law adopted by the Lebanese government overnight.
The parliament adopted a new electoral law on Monday evening. It is part of a reconciliation process that began last May at a meeting in Doha under the formation of the a national unity government and former commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces Michel Suleiman, who was elected president of Lebanon in May.
The new law is an amended version of a 1960 law that rejected several proposed reforms such as the lowering of the voting age to 18 from 21, quotas for women in parliament, and allowing Lebanese citizens living abroad to vote.
A Lebanese Sales Engineer, Walid Rabah, 24, was not aware of the decision until Gulf News conveyed the news. "I am so happy to hear this news," he said. "It's a good initiative since there are approximately four million Lebanese people residing outside of Lebanon."
Lubna Dabeet, a student who just turned 16, does not feel the decision was a just one. "I am well aware of the political situation in Lebanon and feel it's my right to take part in my countries elections," she said.
"I don't feel this new regulation has made a difference for people my age and younger. Since when is being young considered a taboo? If they keep relying on older people our country will never modernise and develop; the country needs fresh new blood to take over," said the high school student, who ranks top in her class.
A long wait
Gazi Mousharafieh, a 37-year-old auditor, is disappointed with the new law. "Why should I have to wait till 2013 to vote?" he asked. "This decision should have been taken a long time ago. The age group factor is also a mistake.
"I feel individuals younger than 21 years will have a fresh new perspective on things."
A public relations manager, Lamia Hariz, 26, was part of an organising committee who helped encourage and educate students to vote in the 2000 elections in Lebanon.
"The decision does not influence me since I will keep on travelling to Lebanon during elections," she said.
"I am an active voter and will take part in the June 2009 elections."
Do you welcome this decision? Will you exercise your right to vote? Do you think the decision should have been made earlier?