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January 18, 2019 | English | Sami Atallah and Sami Zoughaib
Lebanon’s Parliamentary Election of 2018: Seats, Coalitions, and Candidate Profiles

On 6 May 2018, Lebanese voters cast ballots for the first time in nine years to elect 128 MPs. Though its mandate ended in 2013, the parliament extended its term three times in contravention of the constitution—in 2013, 2014, and 2017—under the pretext of avoiding a political vacuum or deadlock and due to so-called ‘security concerns’. The election was governed by a new proportional representation law adopted in June 2017. The law divided Lebanon’s 26 qadas into 15 electoral districts and gave Lebanese expatriates the right to cast their ballots in their respective countries of residence. A key feature of the new law is that voters are required to vote for a list of candidates and cast a ‘preferential vote’ for one candidate from that list.
This report aims to empirically assess the election’s fairness and competitiveness, as well as identify the characteristics of its coalitions. It also explores the participation of women candidates, whose overall numbers were greater than in past elections. We argue that the new electoral system does not offer an equitable distribution of seats on a geographical and confessional level, and that most political coalitions formed during the election were hybrid in nature, meaning parties which allied with one another in one district may have faced off with one another in another district. Additionally, we demonstrate that women candidates were younger and more educated than their male counterparts.

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