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Lebanon Holds First Parliament Elections After 9 Years – What’s New Now?

Lebanon will see 2018 with a lot of new changes, part of those including the first parliamentary elections for the first time in almost a ten (10) years. This is years after the parliament had to extend its term twice because of conflicts in Syria, and changes to Lebanon’s electoral laws.

Changes to Lebanon’s electoral laws included allowing expats to vote for the first time in Lebanese LEBANON ELECTIONhistory, reduction to district numbers, and changing the voting system overall. Perhaps part of the most interesting change is for Hezbollah to push for an increase in its representation in parliament. It can be remembered that Hezbollah is the armed group that the United States and other nations consider as a “terrorist organization.”

There were 128 seats that were up for voting last May 6, with the official results having announced a week later. Voter turnout was at 49.2-percent, which is a drop to 2009’s 54-percent, as per Nohad Machnouk from the Interior Ministry.


A New Electoral System

Part of the new scenery were thousands of Lebanese that were living abroad, as they were finally allowed to cast their votes as expatriates. This is just part of the many changes that occurred due to the shift to the new electoral system.

The system will also now use a proportional system based on lists for voting, with the 128 seats now distributed among various Islamic and Christian groups in the nation. This is a shift from the traditional Lebanese political system of power-sharing between the different denominations in the country. Seats in the parliament are split between Muslims and Christians, and the speaker of the parliament, prime minister, and president should now come from a particular religious background.


A Tricky 2017 For Lebanon

It can be remembered that current Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri had caused quite a political stir last November 2017 when he fled Lebanon for Saudi Arabia. He used a televised address to “announce” his resignation, out of fears of what appears to be an “assassination attempt.” Two weeks later, he “suspended” the resignation after talking with Michel Aoun, Lebanese President. He eventually withdrew the resignation entirely back in December 2017.

This election had the assistance of various groups such as the European Union, where it said to have election observers deployed to Lebanon’s various districts. The continued focus on ensuing election safety is partly due to a huge number of refugees that have entered Lebanon since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, alongside other economic difficulties.

The Lebanese Parliament has 128 members, all of which are elected on terms lasting four years from various constituencies. Perhaps an interesting feature of the parliament is its “confessional distribution” principle, where all of the religious communities in Lebanon has a set number of deputies to be placed in the Parliament. Muslims and Christians had a roughly 5:6 ratio from 1932 to 1972, and the Taif Agreement last 1989 changed the Parliament to allow equal representation of Muslims and Christians – now allowing each to elect 64 deputies, each.






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