The Daily Star (Lebanon)

Sabaa party an­nounces can­di­dates

- Politics · Beirut · Lebanon · Paula Yacoubian

BEIRUT: The Sabaa party Sun­day an­nounced its 20 can­di­dates run­ning for the May 6 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, promis­ing a fresh al­ter­na­tive to Le­banon’s tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal par­ties and to cre­ate “a new gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers.”

In a tele­vised event, the new party pledged to fully dis­close its can­di­dates’ as­sets in a com­mit­ment to trans­parency and to steer clear of out­side in­flu­ences.

The Sabaa can­di­dates took to the stage, along­side their fam­i­lies, to an­nounce their goals and fo­cuses. In line with the party’s ap­peal to Le­banon’s younger gen­er­a­tion, each can­di­date spoke about their chil­dren and stressed the im­por­tance of se­cur­ing their fu­ture in the coun­try.

“I don’t see a fu­ture for my kids un­less there is change … Sabaa will work on bring­ing this change,” Fadwa Fayiz Nas­sif, one of the party’s can­di­dates for the Ortho­dox seat in Koura, said.

Nas­sif, who de­scribed her­self as an en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivist, an­nounced the party’s vows. “We pledge to stay far from sec­tar­i­an­ism. We won’t ac­cept to be de­pen­dent on any for­eign state. We will aim to be­come a civil state, work­ing with full trans­parency and com­bat­ing cor­rup­tion.”

She also promised the full pub­lic dis­clo­sure of the can­di­dates’ as­sets, be­fore giv­ing the stage to the party’s “star,” one of Le­banon’s lead­ing me­dia per­son­al­i­ties, Paula Ya­coubian.

“For decades peo­ple have been … protest­ing and de­mand­ing change, but with­out re­sults. Sabaa isn’t a move­ment that sim­ply de­mands change, it’s a com­pre­hen­sive trans­for­ma­tive move­ment. It will cre­ate a new gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers,” said Ya­coubian, who is run­ning for an Ar­me­nian Ortho­dox seat in Beirut.

She ad­dressed cam­paign ban­ners put up by prom­i­nent par­ties promis­ing change and crit­i­cized that so far the par­ties have failed to ful­fill their pre-elec­tion prom­ises. “You have plenty of funds [for cam­paigns], but your fail­ure is ev­i­dent … Change isn’t a slo­gan you can hang on a bill­board.”

The Sabaa party came to the front af­ter the “You Stink” protests against the garbage cri­sis, and was led by young po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists that aimed to com­bat sec­tar­i­an­ism, cor­rup­tion and ne­po­tism they claimed cor­rupted the es­tab­lished po­lit­i­cal par­ties in the coun­try.

The party gained more ex­po­sure af­ter Ya­coubian joined, an­nounc­ing Sabaa as “the first po­lit­i­cal” party to which she has be­longed. –

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