On the 6th of May 2018 the Lebanese are voting for their parliament for the first time in 9 years. Elections, supposed to be held in 2013 but postponed repeatedly for security concerns, are held under a new electoral law. There is a huge discontentment with the political system and a high level of political apathy. The garbage crisis of 2015 and the municipal elections of 2016 showed that a huge segment of society does not feel adequately represented by the established political parties. This representation issue has a lot to do with the inherent corruption of the ruling political class and their failure to provide basic public services. Due to the discontent, the 2018 election saw an increase in candidates who do not come from the traditional sectarian parties. These civil society groups, who have their roots in previous protests, try to create a new political discourse around secularism, citizenship and pro-human rights. This paper examines the emergence of the these groups.
It has been nearly a decade since Lebanese citizens last had the opportunity to go to the polls and cast their votes. The current parliament had been extending its mandate on three separate occasions mainly due to several reasons starting from not agreeing on a new electoral law to the ongoing war in neighboring Syria. Finally, in summer of 2017 a proportional law was agreed on and elections finally will be held on May 6 of this year. With elections approaching we have put together this dossier that would help the voter keep track of everything they need to know about the elections.
Lebanon, often described as the Paris or Switzerland of the Middle East, and still considered safer and more stable than most Arab surrounding countries, is constantly under threat of falling apart due to its political instability and corrupt politicians. Although many Lebanese have lost their faith in their political leaders, it seems that the politicians themselves are eager to go through with the parliamentary elections. The only plausible explanation is that the politicians are confident that their supporters will eventually give them their votes, perhaps for lack of better alternatives.
Alex Rowell from Al-Jumhuriya speaks to Dr. Bente Scheller, director of the Heinrich Böll Foundation's Middle East office, on the recent German elections and their likely impact on European Syria policy, the ongoing debate over Western participation in the future reconstruction of Syria, threats faced by Syrian refugees both in Europe and here in the Middle East, recent military developments against ISIS and other actors in Syria’s east and north, and much more.