EU prepared to send mission to monitor Lebanon polls

June 7 vote will decide between a Sunni-led coalition which has a slim majority and a Shi'ite-led minority.

EU prepared to send mission to monitor Lebanon polls
The European Union will send an electoral mission to monitor Lebanon's parliamentary polls in June which are expected to be a tight contest between anti-Syrian factions and a Hezbollah-led alliance.

June 7 vote will decide between a Sunni-led coalition supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia which has a slim majority and a Shi'ite-led minority, backed by Syria and Iran.

Describing the election as "the most immediate challenge" for Lebanon, EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner told Reuters in Beirut on Monday she was prepared to "immediately" send an exploratory mission.

Ferrero-Waldner is due to meet Lebanese officials on Tuesday.

"What is necessary is to avoid as much as possible electoral fraud. And this is what we'll look at. This is exactly why I think there should be an election observation mission here."

A unity government was formed in July as part of the agreement in which the Hezbollah-led alliance holds effective veto power. Hariri has said he will not join a new government if that group wins the election.

A Doha-mediated deal in May pulled Lebanon out of 18 months of political conflict which spilled into armed conflict between Hezbollah and its allies and its anti-Syrian rivals, led by Saad al-Hariri.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said if the minority wins, it would offer Hariri's coalition a substantial presence in government.

Reuters
Last Mod: 17 Şubat 2009, 13:17
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