"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)



Sunday, May 06, 2018

Elections Day: Machnouk speaks on elections outcomes- Daily Star

BEIRUT: Lebanon went to the polls Sunday to elect MPs for the first time in nine years, and Lebanese began celebrating the historic day around midnight after the country’s three key leaders – Prime Minister Saad Hariri, President Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri – cast their ballots.
12:20 a.m.
The final results in Lebanon's election will be released around dawn Monday, Machnouk says as he concludes a media conference to discuss the day's voting.
12:06 a.m.
Final voter turnout hits 49.2% in 2018 parliamentary elections, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk says in a news conference, after polls close. He says the ministry received 7,300 voter complaints during the elections. He confirmed that one person had been wounded by celebratory gunfire connected with the election after reports that Moustafa A. was taken to hospital in Akkar with gunshot injuries.
12 a.m.
Party supporters began celebrating across Lebanon, with music, cheering and celebratory gunfire despite the elections results having not yet been announced.
11:50 p.m.
A man, identified as Moustafa A. was taken to a hospital in Akkar after he was hit by celebratory gunfire in the town of Halba.
9:00 p.m.
Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea says he is optimistic about the results after the polls closed and the counting process began. "The reality shows that those on the ground [voters] are still in favor of March 14," he says in televised remarks.
8:40 p.m.
Foreign Minister and candidate Gebran Bassil tells reporters that political parties have been trying to buy votes and that there is a "brutality" to it, which he describes as a "serious problem."
8:30 p.m.
Speaking to the media, former Prime Minister Najib Mikati says the reason for the low turnout in Tripoli is voters' rejection the new electoral law used in Sunday's elections.
8:00 p.m.
The process of counting votes starts at centers across the country as ballot boxes are transferred from polling centers. Meanwhile, the final voters still waiting inside polling stations cast their ballots.
7:35 p.m.
Voting turnout at 6 p.m. stands at 46.88 percent, according to Interior Ministry statistics.
7:00 p.m.
Voting centers for Lebanon's first parliamentary elections in nine years closes doors.
6:45 p.m.
A source at Baabda Palace tells The Daily Star that the law doesn't permit extending official voting hours beyond 7 p.m. but notes that those within polling stations will continue to be allowed to vote.
6:20 p.m.
Scuffles break out in Choueifat. The Lebanese Army intervenes, captured on a video broadcast by Al-Jadeed TV station. The local Progressive Socialist Party representative criticizes the Internal Security Forces for not intervening first.
6:10 p.m.
The Lebanese Army pulls a man from his car after he tries to drive through a roadblock in Choueifat, Al-Jadeed TV reports.
6:05 p.m.
President Michel Aoun reiterates that voting will continue beyond 7 p.m. for those inside polling stations.
5:30 p.m.
An Interior Ministry source tells The Daily Star that they have no updated figures on the turnout as yet. The last update of statistics were given at 2 p.m. Polls are set to close nationwide at 7 p.m. although people waiting inside the centers at the deadline will still be allowed to cast their ballot.
5:20 p.m.
Popular Bloc leader Myriam Skaff holds news conference describing threats and physical assaults made against supporters and members of the group. She says Lebanese Forces supporters struck her car with bats and it reminded her of "their militia-like" antics of the past. "Shame on all of you," Skaff says during the conference. Skaff criticizes the Internal Security Forces for not intervening when her car was attacked while she was in it.
5:15 p.m.
A dispute within a polling station in the Aley city of Choueifat escalates to a scuffle in which an unidentified man smashes open the lid of a ballot box and throws the votes across the room. It is not immediately clear what sparked the dispute, captured on video and shown by Al-Jadeed TV station.
4:50 p.m.
Baalbeck-Hermel is given an additional 73 ballot boxes for multiple municipalities after the original allotted boxes filled up by 3:30 p.m.
4:35 p.m.
Hezbollah Deputy head Sheikh Naim Qassem arrives in Zoqaq al-Blat to cast his ballot. He says Hezbollah is in contact with the Interior Ministry over extending voting hours beyond original 7 p.m. closing time.
3:36 p.m.
The European Union’s Election Observation says in a tweet that their evaluation has so far been positive, “in spite of some incidents that were swiftly resolved."
3:35 p.m.
The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) reports via its Twitter account that some voting booths across Lebanon are set up in a way that doesn't guarantee voter privacy.
3:22 p.m.
Statistics from the Interior Ministry say that as of 2 p.m. the voter turnout stands at 24.47 percent.
3:00 p.m.
Voters in Deir al-Ahmar and Baalbeck complain of lack of organization at the polling stations, saying the lines are long and the process is slow. Some fear they won't be able to cast their vote before the polls close at 7 p.m.
"I couldn't vote in Deir al-Ahmar. I waited in line for more than an hour and then couldn't stand it, so I left without voting. There are too many people combined with a very slow process," a disappointed voter told The Daily Star.
2:00 p.m.
Voter turnout as of noon is 20.28 percent, according to Interior Ministry statistics.
1:50 p.m.
Former General Security head and Hezbollah-Amal-backed candidate Jamil Sayyed arrives at a polling station in Baalbeck’s Taraya to cast his ballot.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk arrives to the Tripoli Serail.
1:45 p.m.
LADE reports via its Twitter account that polling station officials at one station in Beirut II's Ras al-Nabaa have halted voting, as the remaining package of ballots they received is for the North I district and not Beirut II.
1:30 p.m.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrives at the polling station set up in the Omar Farrouj Secondary School in Beirut II as part of a tour of polling stations. Hariri cast his own ballot earlier in the day at a Beirut II station.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk is en route to Tripoli from Sidon, where he spoke to reporters about elections security and other electoral procedures.
The Electoral Supervisory Committee releases a statement denouncing violations of a government-ordered media blackout on electoral campaigns. "Despite releasing continued statements and warnings during its direct observation of the media, it appears that some outlets are still violating the electoral media blackout and are not adhering to Article 78 of the electoral law," the statement reads. Article 78 prevents news outlets from reporting on campaigns during Election Day.
1:10 p.m.
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea casts his ballot in Bsharri.
"The voter is not obligated to wait [in long lines]," Geagea said after voting, adding that he hoped the Interior Ministry will find a solution for the long waiting lines outside the polling stations.
1:00 p.m.
Speaking at Zahrat al-Ihsan school in Achrafieh, Beirut, Chief Observer of the European Union’s Election Observation Mission Elena Valenciano says that the mission has a “very positive” impression of the voting process in 98 percent of cases observed.
“The management of the voting process is happening normally and professionally,” Valenciano says.
“We’ve observed the very important role of the Lebanese Armed Forces, who are deployed around the country, and are not just maintaining security but are also helping people who need help to go vote.”
Valenciano notes that over half of people with reduced mobility had difficulties accessing the polling stations.
She also says that there have been a few reports of political party representatives being too close to the polling stations, but at this stage it was “not serious.”
The mission has 131 observers deployed around the country.