An Assessment of Election Irregularities during the 2018 Parliamentary Elections
Lebanon held parliamentary elections in May 2018, the first time in nine years due to political stalemate. These were the first elections since the new electoral law was passed in June 2017, with the hope that it would reinvigorate the democratic process. In spite of the changes in the law, the 2018 elections were conducted amid nationwide allegations of fraud and irregularities committed by various political parties and candidates. Overall, the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections recorded more than 7,000 violations on election day. Election irregularities can take different forms and can occur in different phases of the election process, through voter rigging, by putting pressure on the voter, or through vote rigging, by manipulating the vote itself. This report presents a thorough attempt to assess the presence of irregularities in the 2018 parliamentary elections. The overall results cast doubts about the fairness of the elections. We estimate that close to half of the population was subjected to vote buying that translated into higher turnout benefiting traditional political parties. We also find suggestive evidence of ballot stuffing and fraud in the counting and aggregation process. Different lists and parties are associated with different irregularities, although the main results highlight that traditional parties tend to engage in various forms of fraudulent actions while independent lists and civil society movements suffer the consequences with more tamed electoral outcomes.
Daniel Garrote Sánchez
contributed to this project while being a senior researcher
at the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies. He currently works as a labor market
consultant at the World Bank. His areas of work include economic migration,
labor markets and the task content of jobs, conflict and forced displacement,
and development of lagging regions. Prior to joining LCPS, he served as a
labor migration consultant for the World Bank and the Ministry of Labor of
Saudi Arabia. He also worked for six years as an economic researcher at the
Central Bank of Spain covering a range of macroeconomic topics such as fiscal
policy, labor markets, and deleveraging. Garrote Sánchez holds a master’s
degree in Public Administration and International Development from the
Harvard Kennedy School of Government.