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    Remembering the 2009 Parliamentary Elections
    International Observers’ Perspective

      The National Democratic Institute (NDI) released its final international observation   report (in English and Arabic) on the June 7th 2009 Lebanese parliamentary election.

     According to the observers, “the polls were held under a new electoral law agreed to in 2008” and “were also the first in post-war Lebanon to be held in one day. NDI deployed long-term observers, fielded two pre-election delegations during the campaign period and organized an election day observation mission. NDI found the election fundamentally peaceful and well-administered but noted that political deals and the unique electoral system” meant that “the outcome was predetermined in all but a few of the most contested regions. There are also other structural issues not resolved in the 2008 electoral reforms”, most accutely the absence of official, standard, pre-printed ballots. “Nevertheless, the enthusiasm of voters on election day and relatively high voter turnout demonstrated that there is significant political competition and that voters regarded the election as an opportunity to shape the country’s future”. In this report, NDI “offers a series of recommendations for improving Lebanon’s electoral processes”.

    While the parliamentary committees are discussing the draft municipal election law, it seems useful to look at what observers say, to make sure that Lebanon’s electoral process meets international standards. Most importantly, Lebanese legislators should take the recommendations into consideration early enough before the 2013 parliamentary elections, to avoid being caught law-less a few weeks ahead of the election, as per Lebanon’s bad habit.

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