BEIRUT: Student elections were underway at the Lebanese American University in Beirut on Friday, with tensions simmering as no campaign succeeded in winning a majority of the 15 available seats.
As customary in student elections across Lebanon’s universities, campaigns were divided along two major political camps, March 8 and 14, with an independent non-partisan campaign completing the list.
In what has become a common feature in terms of political alliances, the March 8 block, operating under the ‘Sawa’ banner, was comprised of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, Progressive Socialist Party, Amal Movement and Hezbollah; while the March 14 block – undertaking the slogan of ‘Step Forward’ – included the Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces.
The independent ‘Ghayir’ campaign, along with its candidate Nader Akoum who succeeded in winning one of the three Architecture seats up for grabs, managed to deny both parties from claiming an absolute victory, as March 8 and 14 each grabbed one seat.
Speaking after the results emerged, Akoum expressed the significance of his victory, highlighting that this "has been accomplished by the youth that represent the leaders of tomorrow," while also voicing a renewed sense of hope in future generations, who he believes "will be able to co-exist, free of sectarianism."
‘Ghayir’ wasn’t as fortunate in the other departments though, as both the March 8 and 14 camps managed to secure three seats each in both the Business and Arts departments.
By sharing the spoils in each department, each camps only managed seven seats, failing to gain a clear majority.
The election, which was marked as the first ever to be conducted online and not through conventional means, ended at approximately 4pm, and recorded the highest voter turnout in school history, as 4347 votes were cast.
The election process was praised by University President Dr. Joseph Jabbra, who issued a statement congratulating all three campaigns for their effort in participating in this key electoral process, while highlighting the importance of the online voting method in maintaining and encouraging democratic participation.
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