Elections in Lebanon

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Lebanon

Elections in Lebanon gives information on election and election results in Lebanon.

Parliamentary electoral system[edit]

Lebanon's national legislature is called the Assembly of Representatives (Majles el Nuwwéb in Lebanese). Since the elections of 1992 (the first since the reforms of the Taif Agreement of 1989) removed the built-in majority previously enjoyed by Christians. The Parliament has had 128 seats and the term is four years.

Seats in the Parliament are confessionally distributed but elected by universal suffrage. Each religious community has an allotted number of seats in the Parliament (see the table below). They do not represent only their co-religionists, however; all candidates in a particular constituency, regardless of religious affiliation, must receive a plurality of the total vote, which includes followers of all confessions. The system was designed to minimize inter-sectarian competition and maximize cross-confessional cooperation: candidates are opposed only by co-religionists, but must seek support from outside of their own faith in order to be elected.

In practice, this system has led to charges of gerrymandering. The opposition Qornet Shehwan Gathering, a group opposed to the previous pro-Syrian regimes, has claimed that constituency boundaries have been drawn so as to allow many Shi'a Muslims to be elected from Shi'a-majority constituencies (where the Hizbullah Party is strong), while allocating many Christian members to Muslim-majority constituencies, forcing Christian politicians to represent Muslim interests. (Similar charges, but in reverse, were made against the Chamoun administration in the 1950s).

The following table sets out the confessional allocation of seats in the Parliament before and after the Taif Agreement.

Parliament of Lebanon Seat Allocation
Confession Before Taif After Taif
Maronite 30 34
Greek Orthodox 11 14
Greek Catholic 6 8
Armenian Orthodox 4 5
Armenian Catholic 1 1
Protestant 1 1
Other Christians 1 1
Total Christians 54 64
Sunni 20 27
Shi'ite 19 27
Alawite 0 2
Druze 6 8
Total Muslims 45 64
Total 99 128

Before the next election in 2013, the electoral law will be reformed.[1] Among the changes most likely are a reduction of the voting age from 21 to 18, a more proportional electoral system, reforms to the oversight of elections and an invitation for Lebanese voters from abroad to register in the embassies, although there is no clear promise of them being able to vote from abroad.[2]

Especially outside of the major cities, elections tend to focus more on local than national issues, and it is not unusual for a party to join an electoral ticket in one constituency while aligned with a rival party - even an ideologically opposite party - in another constituency.

Lebanese presidential elections are indirect, with the President being elected to a 6-year term by the Parliament.

The last elections took place on June 7, 2009. The Rafik Hariri Martyr List, an anti-Syrian bloc led by Saad Hariri, captured control of the legislature winning 71 of the 128 available seats. The Amal-Hezbollah alliance won 30 seats, with 27 seats going to the Free Patriotic Movement and allied parties.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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