Given Lebanon’s tenuous political and sectarian balance, no wonder that the choice of an electoral system is among the most contentious topics. After all, it is the electoral system that determines how votes are translated into seats and therefore, how the sectarian/political elite predetermine their shares. Lebanon’s electoral laws have been amended several times since the country’s independence in 1943. The last time was in 2008 as part of a political settlement, the Doha Agreement, following a deep political crisis. Yet, all of Lebanon’s postwar electoral laws are based on the majoritarian “Block Vote” system and the same deficiencies persist, such as malapportionment, gerrymandering, the lack of pre-printed ballots, a flaw-ridden counting process, along with other grave defects in the administrative aspect of the process.
In the postwar period, and with the exception of the 2005 elections, the electoral law has been amended before each election. The constant, however, is that the choice of the different electoral laws has always mirrored the regional and domestic balance of power.
Prior to the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon in 2005, Lebanon’s 1992, 1996, and 2000 elections were directly orchestrated by Syria. The primary role of elections was not to establish the legitimacy of the system but rather to produce the postwar political elite who can loyally implement Damascus political agenda and place Lebanon at the service of its foreign policy interests. On that basis, electoral laws were designed.