The Parliamentary Elections in Lebanon: Hezbollah’s Victory within the Political Status Quo

canadafreepress.com | 5/10/2018 | INSS
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On May 6, 2018, parliamentary elections were held in Lebanon for the first time since 2009. The results – which, in stark contrast to elections in other Arab countries, were held in a free and democratic atmosphere – show that the Shia bloc grew stronger, mainly at the expense of the political party of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Within the Shia bloc, the Amal party was apparently strengthened at the expense of Hezbollah. The elections were held after a year replete with crises, strikes, and demonstrations over many domestic issues. The low voter turnout reflected the sentiments of substantial segments of the population, mainly among the young generation, who are alienated by the traditional politics and the alleged corruption and dirty dealings in the Lebanese political arena. The voter turnout also reflected the growing troubles among the middle class, the country’s faltering economy, the need to contend with approximately one million Syrian refugees in the country, and more.

The new election law, which was passed by the parliament in 2017, streamlines the electoral process and encourages independent candidates to try their luck, in the hope that the legislative amendments will enable new candidates to be elected. Even if the reform enabled better expression of “the voter’s voice,” and new and independent candidates were indeed elected to the parliament, in general, both the election results and the traditional structure of the parliament (which is based on confessional distribution) will not spur change in the familiar inter-bloc political dynamics in Lebanon, and the status quo that characterized the country will apparently remain. At the same time, Hezbollah will presumably demand to increase the number of ministers affiliated with the Shia bloc in the new coalition government.

Process - Government - Time

The process of forming the government will likely take some time, and it is still too early...
(Excerpt) Read more at: canadafreepress.com
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