On Friday 16 June, the Lebanese Parliament has passed the new electoral law after a historic session. The agreement reached before the Parliament’s term ended on 20 June 2017 is the culmination of a long and complex process that was initiated several months ago and with the participation of all the Lebanese political actors. The new law paves the way for the next parliamentary elections that are expected to be held in May 2018.
The law revises the electoral system considerably for the first time in decades. The new proportional representation system will replace the “winner-take-all” system for the first time in the country’s history. The new law calls for new electoral districting, composed of 15 major districts subdivided into the administrative 26 minor districts of kada across the country, and includes new official unified printed ballot papers. Among the main reforms, the secretariat for Supervisory Commission on Elections (SCE) will be permanent and new automated systems for candidate registration and results management will be implemented.
On the other hand, the new electoral framework does not include provisions for women’s quota or lowering the voting age, nor facilitating the accessibility of people with disabilities (PWDs) to vote. In this regard, as part of LEAP’s component focused on women and PWDs participation, the project continues to work with the partners and stakeholders, such as Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, UN Women, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and national NGOs, in order to identify and implement alternative modalities.
The EU-funded UNDP Lebanese Elections Assistance Project (LEAP) started its activities in October 2012 with the main objective to strengthen the institutional capacity of the national institutions and stakeholders in terms of electoral management and administration, for the conduct of credible, periodical, transparent and inclusive elections in Lebanon.
To achieve these objectives, UNDP LEAP works closely with the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MoIM), responsible for electoral management, administration and overall electoral operations. The project also supports other electoral stakeholders, such as the Constitutional Council, State Council, Supervisory Commission for the Election (SCE), judicial bodies and works in close cooperation with civil society organizations (CSOs). Within this context, UNDP LEAP provides electoral technical assistance and advisory support focused on: 1) management & administration of elections; 2) supervisory commission for elections; 3) voter education; 4) electoral dispute resolution; and 5) women’s participation in elections.