The last time I voted in Parliamentary elections was in 2005, thirteen years ago. I am planning to vote this coming May, because despite everything I still believe in civic participation and the duty to express my opinion through the ballot box.
So on Sunday May 6th 2018 I will choose a list of candidates according to ALL of the below criteria:
I will vote for candidates who believe in and practice democracy, and who are not running for Parliament just to be another “Za’im”.
I will vote for candidates who are transparent and honest in their work, serving the public good and upholding the highest standards of professional ethics, namely in fundraising and campaign financing.
I will vote for candidates who believe in a secular state where religion is kept away from politics, while respecting everyone’s right to practice their beliefs, whatever they are.
I will vote for candidates who believe in a strong state that has monopoly over all arms in the country, as a democracy cannot properly work if every group has the option to use force to coerce others.
I will vote for candidates who will make sure all state institutions serve the best interest of the public. This extends to state security institutions which should respect human rights and always be accountable to elected officials.
I will vote for candidates who will actively fight for securing and protecting rights and basic liberties, and end all forms of discrimination based on gender, religion, race, age, sexuality or social status.
I will vote for candidates who believe that non-Lebanese living in our country should have the same rights and obligations as Lebanese citizens. Syrian and Palestinian refugees, foreign migrant workers, and all foreign residents in our country should have the right to work, to move, to access services, and other essential rights so that they can live a decent dignified life.
I will vote for candidates who believe in social justice, by actively implementing social and economic initiatives and regulations that help the most vulnerable, while fighting monopolies and the concentration of wealth.
I will vote for candidates who believe in an economy where people are productive, and lower their reliance on emigration, foreign transfers and income from real estate and bank interest; while committed to sustainability and the preservation of natural and cultural resources for future generations.
I will vote for candidates who will actively engage in preserving our environmental, natural and cultural heritage, and who will fight pollution and environmental destruction in all its forms.
I will vote for candidates who believe that the Zionist state of Israel is an enemy of the Lebanese people, and that we need to strengthen all public institutions, over and above the military ones, to ensure our country is protected against foreign threats.
I will vote for candidates who are committed to a foreign policy that respects human rights and the right for self-determination in all countries. This includes supporting the fight of Palestinians for statehood, and that of Syrians and other Arab populations against tyranny and oppression.
So if you are a candidate and you are committed to all of the above, you will get my vote.