Independents win Lebanese university elections

Independents win Lebanese university elections
People walk outside Lebanese American University Medical Center-Rizk Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon November 9, 2020. (Reuters)
Short Url
Updated 15 November 2020

Independents win Lebanese university elections

Independents win Lebanese university elections
  • AUB dean: Students ‘harbor anger toward system that governs their country’

BEIRUT: Student elections in Lebanese universities have always been an indicator of political parties’ ability to attract the new generation to their ranks.

But the triumph of independents in recent elections at the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Lebanese American University, St. Joseph University and Notre Dame University — Louaize suggests that something has changed.

“There’s a major shift in students’ mindset and in the issues they find pressing. They harbor anger toward the system that governs their country,” Dr. Talal Nizameddin, the AUB’s dean of student affairs, told Arab News. Students have described the results of these elections as historic.

Political parties “have lost students’ confidence in them,” Dr. Ziad Abdel Samad, social affairs expert and former secretary-general of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, told Arab News.

The parties “are unable to reach” students, he said, “either due to the absence of on-campus life in universities because of the COVID-19 pandemic, or due to the changing mindset of the youth, who are monitoring the role of parties in power, their corruption, and the economic and social crises they led the country to.”

He added: “The biggest question remains: Is this shift among university students an indication of a shift in the mindset of all the Lebanese? Meaning, will the independents or partisans win if parliamentary elections are held?”

Mohammed Mansour, the Progressive Socialist Party’s youth commissioner, told Arab News: “The revolution and protests have weakened all parties in Lebanon without exception. But the revolution hasn’t presented a clear, consistent program that guarantees a transition toward real change.”

During last year’s street protests, the civil movement resulted in the formation of a new student movement that, according to Abdel Samad, “hasn’t yet matured to the level of a party, but rather is trying to play the role of an alternative.”

He added: “This new movement expresses itself through secular student clubs, some of which are left-wing and others liberal. The traditional parties are no longer able to convince educated generations, so these secular clubs are starting to become successful.”


Israeli defence minister calls on Palestinians to return to negotiations

Updated 04 December 2020

Israeli defence minister calls on Palestinians to return to negotiations

Israeli defence minister calls on Palestinians to return to negotiations
  • Alternate Prime Minister welcomed the return of contact between the Palestinian Authority and Israel
  • He called on Palestinians to coordinate with Israel on the handling of the coronavirus pandemic

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on the Palestinians to return to negotiations and coordination regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

Israel will provide COVID-19 vaccines for the Palestinians, Israeli Defense Minister said on Friday.

Gantz addressed the Palestinian public directly for the first time in a video posted on the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories's (COGAT) Arabic language Facebook page.

COGAT is a unit in the Israeli Ministry of Defense that engages in coordinating civilian issues between the government,  international organizations and the Palestinian Authority.

The minister also claimed that Tel Aviv was ready to push for large projects in Gaza, provided that prisoners and missing persons are returned.

The proposed projects with Gaza will allow the exit of workers and joint industrial zones, he added.

“The Middle East is changing,” the minister said, touching on recent normalization agreements made between Israel and Arab countries.

“It is in your interest to integrate and to return to the negotiation table and create hope for the future of the next generations,” he said.