The Caucus of Women in Politics in the Middle East and North Africa Region monitored the Lebanese Parliamentary elections on Sunday, May 15, 2022. The senator. Rizan Mustafa, the Caucus Executive Secretary, and Mr. Ahmed Abdesalam, the Caucus consultant and representatives of both Raidat network for women’s parliamentarians and the network of women parliamentarians to combat violence against women, joined the Arab Network for Democratic Elections – Lebanon monitoring delegation, on Friday the 13th of May.
The delegation met with several political forces and candidates before the elections. They met the representatives of the Progressive Socialist Party, the Free Patriotic Movement, and the independent candidate Ibrahim Mneimah. The Caucus delegation kept its continuous communication with the Caucus women’s candidates and many women parties who ran the elections in Lebanon.
Lebanon faced multiple unexpected events on October 17, 2019, which affected the contextualization of the recent parliamentary elections. Lebanon went through a Revolution that affected the regular structure people in Lebanon lived in for years. The COVID19 pandemic affected Lebanon's social and political structure worldwide. The Beirut Port explosion in August 2020, classified as one of the worst non-nuclear explosions in history, was the final stage of entering Lebanon to the most significant financial slump that Lebanon has experienced. Unprecedented economic inflation led to the collapse of the Lebanese currency value, and a significant recede in its exchange rate against foreign currencies, which dramatically affected the citizens' purchasing power and lives, socially and economically.
Due to the context, the Lebanese State could not manage many internal and external files. The local and international community raised many doubts about the current government's ability to hold a parliamentary election and how it will affect the results of the polls.
On the other hand, the political scene witnessed the seclusion of an active and essential political component after announcing the Former Prime Minister and Head of the Future Movement not to participate in the electoral process, to sort elections boycotted by their supporters.
The 2022 elections were held, within this context, under Law No. 44/2017 with some amendments through Law No. 8/2021 while continuing to adopt the same electoral system with a preferential vote. Despite the massive criticism, the preferential ballot was subjected to during the previous elections by most political, civil, and rights parties concerned with elections, democracy, and human rights.
Hence, monitoring the latest Lebanese elections, May 15, 2022, encountered many difficulties. The Caucus’ delegation listed many points during the elections phase and polling day, among them:
- Low percentage of women candidates for the Lebanese Parliament Elections
- Many lists are free of women candidates
- Numbers of political forces and parties didn’t encourage women, such as the list of Hezbollah
- Absence of any law protecting women candidates from political violence; many violence and political harassment cases against women candidates were monitored before the polling process, as happened with the candidate Rola Murad in Akar.
- Unreadiness of most electoral commissions for the voting process and the lack of an appropriate environment for women to vote.
- Unavailability of commissions for women in the number of divisions
- Unfamiliarity of the Head of the Electoral Commission Registrar with the election’s laws
In addition to these observations related to women, there are general ones that came in the joint report issued by the Arab Network for Democratic Elections