People across Lebanon cast their votes last Sunday in an election that was meant to be different.
So much has happened since the last poll, in 2018, when familiar faces were elected from parties largely made up of the same people who had fought the civil war decades earlier.
First, the economy started to creak - and eventually collapsed. In 2019, hundreds of thousands of people across Lebanon rose up in a popular protest movement, apparently determined to change a political system that seemed to be pushing the country over a precipice.
Then, in August of 2020, a devastating explosion at Beirut’s port killed hundreds, left hundreds of thousands homeless, and caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage in a country that could ill afford to pay the bill. Many blamed the same culture of political mismanagement for the catastrophic explosion.
In this week’s episode of Beyond the Headlines, Finbar Anderson asks: will the Lebanese election be seen as a turning point for an embattled country in desperate need of change? Or was it a sideshow designed to buy the ruling elite time and a false sense of legitimacy?