Sunday, May 6, 2018

Lebanon finally votes

After a number of failed starts, Lebanon is finally voting today in its first election in nearly a decade.

Two basic alliances make up the core split in politics in Lebanon. The March 8th alliance, known for its Pro-Syrian stance, and the March 14th alliance, known for its Anti-Syrian stance. To keep things simple, I'll tag these two basic alliances as (P) for Pro-Syria, and (A) for Anti-Syria.

Lebanon is also split on religious lines. Christian groups, mostly nominated by the orthodox Maronite Church, form a large share of the population, while the majority of Lebanese are Muslim, mostly split between Sunni and Shia. These are noted by the name of the dominant religion or ethnic group.

Lastly is the right-left balance within the party if any.

The main parties are as follows.

Future Movement (A) Sunni - Moderate
Free Patriotic Movement (P) Christian - Nationalist
Amal Movement (P) Shia - Conservative
Hezbollah (P) Shia - Nationalist
Lebanese Forces (A) Christian - Christian Democrat
Progressive Socialist (A) Secular - Socialist
Arab Democratic Party (P) Secular - Left
Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party (P) Secular - Pro-Arab
Lebanese Democratic Party (P) Druze - Conservative
Independence Movement (A) Christian - Conservative
National Alliance (A) Secular - Moderate
Ramgavar (A) Armenian - Liberal
Rifi Bloc (A) Sunni - Conservative
Syrian Social Nationalist Party (P) Secular - Nationalist
Tashnaq (P) Armenian - Socialist 

To say this is confusing would be an under-statement. 

Pro-Syrian parties tend to be more right-wing, and nationalist in nature. As well, they have quite a bit of support from the Shia community. Anti-Syrian forces are more open to liberal ideals, and have widespread support among the Sunni community. Each side has a major Christian party backing it, and the largest Druze party is Pro. 

The electoral system is heavily based on demographics, with each group electing a certain number of members. This as as follows.

Alawite - 2
Armenian Catholic - 1
Armenian Orthodox - 5
Druze - 8
Protestant - 1
Greek Catholic - 8
Greek Orthodox - 14
Maronite - 34
Minorities - 1
Shia - 27
Sunni - 27

Each electoral area is running its own separate list of candidates. For example, in West Beirut, the Future Movement is running its own separate list; but in the Zahle area, it is running as part of the larger "Zahle for All" list. 

Considering the number of variables possible, discussing things further without some idea of the results will be nearly impossible. I will update the situation as results come in over the next few days.

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