Young Lebanese voters shake grip of traditional parties

22 May, 2022
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Young Lebanese voters shake grip of traditional parties

Lebanese law student Charbel Chaaya spent the election campaign distributing flyers in Beirut and trying to convince his parents to vote for independents to shake the grip of established parties.

The 21-year-old activist is one of many young voters who went against their parents' political views, and helped propel at least 13 independents to parliament last week for the first time in decades.

"My parents think I'm too idealistic, that this country will never change," he said, adding that his father voted for a traditional Christian party, the Lebanese Forces.

"There is a generational gap," Chaaya said. "Our generation knows that sectarian and traditional politics simply don't work anymore."

Chaaya is part of a new generation seeking a progressive approach to politics, blaming established parties dating from Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war for an economic meltdown that has pushed thousands to flee the country.

This has widened a generational gap between young people voting for change and an older generation often attached to civil war-era parties.

Hizbullah and its allies fell just short of the 65 seats needed to control the 128-seat parliament, losing their clear-cut majority.

This time, the May 15 polls brought in a record number of independents to parliament, totaling a small but significant tenth of the assembly.


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