Friday, February 05, 2010

Lebanese Ministry of Interior and U.S. Government Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Technical Support for Municipal Elections

On February 5, 2010, U.S. Ambassador Michele J. Sison witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Lebanese Ministry of Interior and Municipalities to provide technical support for the upcoming municipal elections in Lebanon. With funding made available through USAID, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) will work with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities to support activities for the upcoming electoral cycle. IFES will work with the Ministry to provide technical support to train elections workers and assist the Ministry in developing a public media outreach program on the election process. IFES will also provide technical support for the Ministry's Observer Coordination Unit, which supports domestic monitoring of the elections by Lebanese civil society organizations.
Speaking at the signing event, Ambassador Sison expressed her admiration for the work the Ministry of Interior has done in organizing supporting free, fair, and transparent elections in Lebanon. Ambassador Sison said "IFES's technical support and training for the Ministry's employees – as well as the development of training materials for elections workers – will help ensure the continued transparency of Lebanon's elections systems. The right to cast a ballot and equal access by citizens to cast their vote are basic tenets of democracy. The United States stands ready to provide technical assistance to the government of Lebanon and the Ministry as it prepares for the upcoming municipal elections."