On 6 May 2018, Lebanese citizens went to the polls to elect their new parliament for the first time since 2009, based on a new electoral proportional system. The national voter turnout reached 49.7% in the 15 electoral districts. Lebanese voters casted their votes using the preprinted ballot, a reform that was adopted to ensure voting secrecy and, hence, reduce vote-buying. The total number of candidates was 597, including 86 women candidates (14.4%), competing in 77 lists.
And for the first time, 82,970 registered Lebanese nationals residing abroad had the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. On 27 and 29 April, turnout rate reached 59% for Lebanese expats voting in 40 foreign countries.
UNDP LEAP Assistance
Throughout the preparation of these historic elections, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), through the Lebanese Elections Assistance Project (LEAP), provided technical assistance and advisory support to the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM) and the Supervisory Commission for Elections (SCE) to organize and conduct the required electoral processes according to international standards.
The project supported the MoIM mainly in enhancing the elections’ operations and management capacity by providing technical assistance in various electoral areas including training of polling officers and registration committees, automation of candidates and list registration systems, developing and implementing the result management system, establishing a hotline call center, procuring elections materials such as ballot boxes, and polling booths, designing and printing voter education materials and campaign, amongst others.
The project also supported SCE in the electoral monitoring and supervision activities through a monitoring system of the media and candidates’/lists’ campaigns as well as institutional strengthening of the Commission.
Furthermore, the project supported the Constitutional Council in enhancing its administrative capacities to facilitate their work during the post parliamentary elections period where the council is expecting to receive electoral challenges.
Under the framework of Voter Education, UNDP LEAP developed and produced several awareness campaigns targeting the public at large, women and youth, aiming at encouraging them to participate in elections.
UNDP LEAP also collaborated and partnered with UN agencies and UNDP projects, as well as civil society to enhance women’s participation, as candidates and voters, in elections in an effective way. Under the same context, the project conducted several info sessions targeting women and youth across the country to provide them with information on the new electoral law.
Following the successful conduct of the parliamentary elections, the post elections period will focus on the lessons learned and on ways to approach the challenges faced, particularly those related to the accessibility of people with disabilities and women’s participation in the political life.
For more information on the support that UNDP LEAP provided, check the following video.
UNDP LEAP is funded by EU and USAID.