is lebanon’s crisis due to elections or to the regime
Last Updated : GMT 17:34:35
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Last Updated : GMT 17:34:35
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Is Lebanon’s crisis due to elections or to the regime

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is lebanon’s crisis due to elections or to the regime

Diana Moukalled

Lebanon is only four months away from parliamentary elections, yet the political forces represented in the government and Parliament have not reached a final agreement on the draft of a new election law that will ensure holding the elections as scheduled.

The election law has always been problematic in a country where the political system is based on sectarian divisions. The political debate about the new law usually becomes more heated prior to any election. That is what is happening now. The political forces are very concerned about the outcome of the elections, and always look for a foregone conclusion.

Proposals for the new law include proportional/majoritarian representation and a mixed-member system. All proposals being discussed are limited to the game of allocating seats and quotas between political parties and dominant forces.

Meanwhile Parliament, which has extended its own term twice, faces a crisis of constitutional deadlines — there is not enough time before the elections to discuss, formulate and endorse a new law. This will put the majoritarian election law, also known as the “1960 law,” into effect. In that case, Lebanon will repeat the scenario of reproducing the same ruling political class based on current quotas.

The present situation is not fortuitous; political practice is still the same in Lebanon. What is happening now is a struggle for seats and influence rather than for real reform of the electoral law, which is a prerequisite for ending the country’s political crisis.

Amid Lebanon’s political crises, as well as regional and international turmoil, the country is experiencing a hysterical political and media debate on the electoral law. The problem with the current law is that it is majoritarian with multi-member constituencies, which encourages alliances between parties and candidates.

These alliances, however, are not based on political platforms, and result in the non-representation of a large spectrum of political groups, instability of governance and corruption due to the desire to distribute the spoils to alliance members.

Observers see that the defects in Lebanon cannot be handled by adopting a particular electoral system. The basic problem, overlooked by everyone, lies in the logic of “sectarian counting” of the numbers of Muslims and Christians, instead of the logic of an updated law that overrides sectarianism and narrow interests.

So far, it seems the Lebanese have not settled on an electoral system. Will they maintain the present sectarian-based system or replace it with a nationalistic one?

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is lebanon’s crisis due to elections or to the regime is lebanon’s crisis due to elections or to the regime

 



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