Lebanon

Various news reports have noted that last week’s accord regarding the Lebanese political standoff included electoral reform. One report I heard (via Mosaic; it might have been from Dubai TV, but I do not recall) referred to reinstating the electoral system from the 1960s, but with some new “special provisions” (or words to that effect) for the division of Beirut and other large districts.

I have not had time to search for more detail. Anyone out there more up to speed than I am on this?

0 thoughts on “Lebanon

  1. I may be terribly wrong in my previous planting. In the Doha Agreement there is also a clause supporting a change to a parallel system.

    The mentioned Draft Electoral Law confirms the exiting allocation of 128 seats by district and by confession and only ‘takes away’ 51 seats from the existing lower-level districts to bring these together, while still determined by confession, in 6 list-PR- districts.

    The draft law ensures the confessional distribution in the list-PR-system by allocating the seats one by one and, when a ‘confession’ had filled up all its seats, eliminating all other candidates of the same confession.

  2. Now I see why you’re so interested! In the report accompanying the draft electoral law, you’re quoted in favor of a parallel system:

    “It is to be noted, in this context, that each of the majoritarian and proportional systems has many advantages. This is also the case of large and small constituencies. Accordingly, the mixed systems – an amalgam of these elements – were called by contemporary political science experts such as Matthew Shugart and Martin Wattenberg “The best of both worlds”.”

    …but without a question mark at the end…

  3. Yes, that question mark is important! But much forgotten.

    And, of course, not all MM system are created equal, or appropriate for all contexts. The retention of the set-aside balance of sectarian seats rather distorts the workings of the system.

    I would also back off somewhat from a statement we make in the conclusion to the book that implies that MMM may be better at delivering the “best of both worlds” than MMP. The point–which in any case I think was aimed at a context of less institutionalized party systems–may remain theoretically defensible, but I am increasingly dubious on empirical grounds. It strikes me as an especially unsuitable mix for a rigidly sectarian political system such as Lebanon’s.

    I would certainly advise MMP over MMM, and put the later pretty far down the ranking of normatively desirable electoral systems.

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