First published in: DEMOCRATIZATION Volume 5, Number 1

Citizen Disempowerment and the 1996 Parliamentary Elections in the Governorate of Mount Lebanon


A paradox of political life in the developing areas is the way governments disempower citizens by manipulating those very same institutions and processes that purport to preserve democracy. Yet, evidence now coining to light about the ways citizens are divested of their civic rights and why they are unable to prevent these practices, suggests that disempowerment is a more complex phenomenon than was previously thought, and that state machinations are facilitated by a number of other factors worthy of identification and further exploration.1

This study hopes to shed light on this phenomenon by focusing on Lebanon's 1996 parliamentary elections. In light of the 1992 contest, which was widely believed to have robbed citizens of their rights and thus to have dealt a serious blow to hopes for democratization in the post-war period, the question in 1996 was hardly whether something similar might happen again, but rather how it would take place this time.

Lebanon offers fertile grounds for such an inquiry despite the fact that after its independence in 1943, it was a promising candidate for authentic democratic transformation. However, in the latter half of the century it all but disappeared as a territorial state as a result of its long civil conflict, partly caused by an inequitable distribution of political power. Constitutional reforms were undertaken in 1990 to redress the power imbalance between Muslims and Christians. Nevertheless, the empowerment of new members of the executive and legislative branches in 1992 left a lot to be desired as far as due democratic process was concerned.2The parliamentary elections that consolidated the power of the post-war regime were criticized for the faulty legal machinery created to guide the elections, the influence of Lebanon's overlord, Syria, in the selection of candidates, the lack of any real competition and negligible voter turnout due to a boycott staged by the mainstream Christian opposition.

The purpose of the boycott was to prevent further marginalization of the group which had suffered defeat in the civil war. But in the eyes of the Syrian government in Damascus, the primacy of Lebanon's stability in the ongoing confrontation with Israel made allowing anyone to enter the postwar government who adamantly rejected Lebanon's new order and who was a former ally of Israel, tantamount to knowingly admitting a fifth column. This exclusionary practice and its backlash deprived the 1992 electoral process of any legitimacy in the democratic sense.

The Research Problem

Since none of the above conditions had changed by 1996, it was imperative that the government find a means of improving its legitimacy rating through the appearance of open and competitive elections that would encourage a respectable voter turnout. However, at the same time, it needed to safeguard the incumbency of allegiant legislators, some of whom were the pillars of the regime. The research problem posed here was therefore to identify the factors that facilitated this difficult task and then to analyse the manner in which they affected the elections and their outcomes.

Accordingly, the following variables were considered germane to the achievement of the state's agenda and, unfortunately comprise another setback for democratization in Lebanon: (1) the traditional political practices, beliefs and situational realities that not only shape state strategies but also structure citizens' political expectations in ways that influence their electoral behaviour, (2) The government's successful manipulation of the electoral machinery in favour of its candidates, and (3), the capacity of the latter to exploit the state resources at their disposal as well as electoral traditions and opportunities in ways that their opponents could not match.

Bearing these factors in mind, it was felt that analysis of the dynamics of specific electoral processes and their results would not only add to our knowledge about disempowerment but also update the substantial literature on Lebanese elections.3 It was therefore thought that a focus on elections in the governorate of Mount Lebanon would best serve these purposes, since it was here that the state faced its greatest challenge in 1992. Seat of the Maronite Christian patriarchy and scene of some of the worst excesses of the civil wars of 1860, 1975 and 1983, this governorate constituted the hub of the 1992 boycott. The analysis here thus encompasses the six distinctive elections which were likely to give the state the most trouble in achieving its aims in 1996.4

Of these elections, the competition in the Matn district receives somewhat more emphasis than the others. This is because it was there that one of the regime's most powerful ministers locked horns with highly popular opposition leaders in a battle that became a critical test of the government's resolve to oversee authentic democratic elections. Since the symbolic importance of the struggle and the unpredictability of its outcome put a premium on the candidates' clever use of campaign tactics and electoral resources, a more detailed account of the electoral story in this district appeared to be justifiable in terms of the study's research objectives.

First, however, it will be useful to describe the institutional and behavioural factors that influence Lebanon's political practices and that have consistently deprived them of any authentic democratic content.

Selective Empowerment and the Lebanese Political Process

Selective empowerment is not a new phenomenon in post-war Lebanon. It was the organizing principle of the state that emerged after the French Mandate. As the result of a verbal pact the Maronite Christians obtained preferential treatment vis-à-vis the other sects in Lebanon.5The system ultimately contrived a division of power between the confessional groups on a proportional basis according to sect numbers. The Maronite Christians, who according to a census taken in 1932 were the largest confessional group, thus received the presidency and other key power positions in the new government, while the premiership went to the Sunnites, the speakership of the house to the Shiites and other posts were divided among the smaller sects. Parliamentary seats and posts in the administration were distributed in the same manner. Since no other census was ever taken, Saadeh claims that this arrangement has produced something very similar to a caste system in Lebanon where the sects are ranked in a rigid, hierarchical fashion that excludes intra-group competition.6

Within this institutional arrangement a highly exclusive political circle came about that was composed of elected and appointed representatives of the various sects whose common interest lay in maintaining the status quo. Members of the pre-war political establishment all derived their political authority from familial, confessional and locational sources. They then distributed the resources available to them through their state connections in order to maintain the allegiance of their followers and exclude their rivals.7This practice resulted in the almost permanent incumbency of a few powerful men in each sect whose political 'fiefs' are characteristically transferred to their nearest eligible male relative upon their death or retirement.8 Naturally, these politicians strongly resist the adoption of authentic democratic practices that would threaten their tenure, while their opponents vigorously uphold due process as their only chance of assuming political office. As a result, members of Lebanon's political establishment try to legitimize their incumbency by distorting liberal principles and processes to fit their own needs.

Elections in Lebanon have tended to refresh entrenched authority instead of providing a level playing field for legitimate candidates. Under Lebanon's political system competition for the parliamentary seats reserved for each sect takes place at the district level within each confessional community. For example, the population of B'abda district in Mount Lebanon includes Maronites, Druzes and Shiites, with each group having reserved seats in parliament in proportion to its overall number in the district (see Table 1).




Christians Muslims
District Maronite Orthodox Greek Catholic Greek Orthodox Armenian Catholic Armenian Orthodox Shiite Druze Sunnite

Alay 2 1





B'abda 3





2 1


Jubayl 2








Kisrawan 5








Matn 4 2 1 1





Shuf 3






2 2

Total 35 MPs 19 3 2 1


3 5 2

Source: Author.

Candidates may run independently or join tickets or lists formed by the major zu'ama (political bosses) of the district. Because the electoral odds generally heavily favour the lists headed by establishment figures (as they are most able to offer the rewards expected by the voters), independents campaign hard against each other - Shiite against Shiite, Maronites against Maronite, and so on - to secure a place on such a ticket. Large payoffs to list leaders are not uncommon. The result is a lopsided competition between a major list's candidates and challengers hoping for an upset that might give them a 'breakthrough'.

The State's Political Imperatives and Practices in the Post-war Period


The influx of mainly Muslim Palestinian refugees and the development of a Palestinian resistance movement in Lebanon in the 1960s stimulated factions who felt they were being short-changed by the Christian-dominated establishment to try to force their entry into the national political arena. This mainly Muslim-leftist coalition received assistance from Syria's president Hafiz al-Asad as a result of his desire to protect his country's soft underbelly from the inroads Israel had made in the mobilized Christian community.9 In the confrontation between and within the two coalitions, the Lebanese state quickly lost most of its prerogatives. Although parliamentary elections were frozen after the war began in 1975, warlords and their foreign backers acquired most of the say in the selection and empowerment of Lebanese presidents. They accomplished this by using Lebanon's version of democratic process to mask their own interests. For instance, Christian militia leader and Israeli ally, Bashir al- Jumayyil became president after Israeli troops successfully occupied Lebanon in 1982. The Israelis considered Jumayyil their best bet to have a government which would sign a peace treaty with them. When Bashir was assassinated three weeks after his election, his brother Amin was voted president almost as a matter of course.

Pro-Syrian forces, on the other hand, had to wait a decade before their day at the polls arrived in 1992. This was the time it took for Syria to expand its influence in Lebanon after 1985 when Israel withdrew from all occupied areas except its self-proclaimed security zone in the South.10 By 1988 more than 35,000 Syrian troops were in Lebanon to restore order. A document of National Accord mediated by members of the Arab League and signed by Lebanese deputies in Ta'if, Saudi Arabia formally ended the civil war in 1989 and recognized Syria's special interest in Lebanon. It took another year to defeat the main hold-out, General Michel 'Awn, interim president and commander of a remnant of the Lebanese army who had remained loyal to the state. When 'Awn was forced into exile in France in 1990, the door was open to the victorious coalition, all of whom were beholden to Damascus for their participation in the post-war regime.

Guidelines of the Post-war Period

The Document of National Accord reflected the political results of Lebanon's long and costly civil war. Not only were constitutional reforms promulgated favouring the Muslim sector of Lebanese society, but a special relationship between Syria and Lebanon was formally recognized. Furthermore, although it was stated that Syrian forces would eventually withdraw from Lebanon, the timing of their final departure was left to negotiations between Beirut and Damascus. Many felt that this clause severely jeopardized Lebanon's future independence, since the weaker partner, namely Lebanon, would not be able to impose its demands on the stronger one.11

The ground was further prepared for the new regime by the Syrian army, whose men reorganized the Lebanese troops. They also helped disarm all militias except the Shiite organizations, Amal and Hizballah, which were fighting the Israeli occupation in the south of the country. With tight security assured, the election results in 1990, as in 1982, reflected power realities achieved by force. This time, however, Syria was the prevailing foreign power and called the shots. Damascus' main concern was that there would be no breach of Lebanon's internal security that Israel could exploit in the ongoing conflict between the two states. This meant that Israel's former Lebanese allies, the mainstream Christian opposition, could not be trusted with any significant role in the post-war government, and that individuals associated with this current who remained in Lebanon would be under constant surveillance by Lebanese and Syrian security forces to prevent any 'incidents'. Therefore, Christian members of the post-war regime would have to come from the counter-current, pro-Syrian segment of the community or from families whose neutrality was not suspect. As a result, a president with no ties to the mainstream Maronite establishment was elected in 1990. After his assassination on his inaugural day, the current president, Ilyas Hirawi, a man of similar background, was chosen for the job. Although the Lebanese constitution expressly forbids a president succeeding himself in office, Hirawi's term was extended in 1996 due to ,extenuating circumstances in the country', that is to say active forces could be brought to agree on the extension of Hirawi's mandate, so why risk a chance of rocking the boat by searching out another candidate?

At the same time vacant seats in the legislative chamber were filled by the appointment of 40 men whose reputations were not unduly 'tarnished' by close linkages to the mainstream Christian opposition.12 The precepts of the new regime were then spelled out in the 1991 Treaty of Brotherhood and Cooperation which provided for consultation and joint action between Lebanon and Syria on almost all policy issues.13

The 1992 Parliamentary Elections

Realizing that the 1992 parliamentary elections could only further marginalize them, and hoping a change in regional events might favour their resurgence, Christian opposition leaders threatened a boycott. They used the same rationale advanced by Muslims and leftists in 1982 when Bashir al-Jumayyil was elected, explaining that the presence of foreign troops precluded democratic elections. The elections nevertheless were held on schedule in 1992 despite the massive abstention of opposition candidates and voters. For instance, in Mount Lebanon, the lists of defence minister and vice president of the parliament, Michel al-Murr, and of Eli Hubayka, minister responsible for displaced persons, ran unopposed in the Matn and B'abda districts respectively. Similarly, Walid Junblat, the Druze partner of the pro-Syrian military coalition during the war years, swept the elections in the Shuf and 'Alay districts where Druzes are concentrated.

The situation was more difficult for the government, however, in the districts that constitute the heartland of political Maronitism - Jubayl and Kisrawan - where candidate and voter abstention were almost total. In Kisrawan, the election had to be suspended due to lack of candidates and rerun in October after the other elections had proven the irreversibility of the electoral process. Faris Buwayz, minister of foreign affairs and a relative of President Hirawi, and other loyalists then won easily.

In Jubayl, only five inidividuals declared their candidacies for the three available seats. One of the three Maronite candidates, Maha al-Khuri, a friend of the president's wife, received 41 votes, while the other took 123 votes out of a possible 60,0000. In many villages in this district, the mayors refused to open public buildings for polling, and many of the ballot boxes were returned empty or stuffed with grapes and figs from the region. One of the opposition's major complaints was that the division of Mount Lebanon into districts while the unit of election in other areas remained the governorate, unfairly assisted government candidates - a situation that will be dealt with in detail later.

Although competition between candidates did take place in other governorates, the situation in Mount Lebanon made it very difficult for the government to claim that due process had been achieved there. The state's predicament was further compounded by the fact that the voter turnout registered there fell far below the 55 per cent to 65 per cent registered in previous elections and considered normal. Officially estimated as high as 30 per cent in some districts, that figure was nevertheless reported as inflated by some independent groups monitoring the elections.14 Casting a pall over the government's efforts to legitimate the new parliament and the ensuing cabinet, these elections were a reminder of Lebanon's worsening plight where democratization was concerned. If the new government was to win citizens' respect and allegiance it would have to be by clean politics. effective measures to shore up Lebanon's sagging economy, and progress on the physical reconstruction of Beirut.

The government found these tasks very difficult to accomplish. Prime Minister Hariri, a multi-millionaire contractor, was immediately under great pressure to turn Lebanon's weak economic situation around. At the same time he was charged with conflict of interest because of his personal involvement in Solidaire, the organization rehabilitating the capital's devastated centre. Scandals in administrative and media reform followed , while repressive measures taken to prevent strikes and popular manifestations were justified by the government as a means of discouraging those who would use any means to stir up trouble. These events created an atmosphere of political malaise which encouraged the emergence of parliamentary back-benchers - men who were pro-regime but highly critical of the Hariri government.

Government and Opposition in 1996

Government electoral tactics were naturally based on expectations of the opposition's likely behaviour. During the four years since the last parliamentary elections, Christian morale had been dealt several severe blows whose effects on voting or abstention could not be accurately predicted. Samir J'aj'a, head of the Lebanese Forces militia and the last important Christian opposition leader remaining in Lebanon, had been arrested and his organization dissolved after a blast that killed I I people and wounded 54 at a Maronite church in February 1994. Cleared of this charge, he was none the less found guilty of ordering the assassination of his rival, Dany Sham'un, leader of the National Liberal Party (NLP) and his wife and children in 1993. After a lengthy public trial, J'aj'a was sentenced to life imprisonment for the Sham'uns' murder and that of another Maronite notable. He was later also convicted of ordering an assassination attempt on defense minister al-Murr in 1991.

Many Christians were also discouraged by their leaders' inability to establish a unified protest movement against the post-war regime, despite repeated attempts. The internal disarray the various parties had undergone as a result of their marginalization and other setbacks, made it difficult for leaders to mobilize and unite their own members, much less join other groups in common cause. The Phalangists for instance, formed in 1936 by Pierre al-Jumayyil and now led by his son Amin, had demonstrated they lost touch with their partisans when general secretary George Saadeh flirted with the idea of a government post. A rejectionist group loyal to Amin, who had exiled himself in France after his presidential term of office ended in 1988, subsequently broke away from Saadeh's organization accusing it of betraying party principles. The NLP, for its part, posed no threat to the new political status quo since it had been weakened by the lacklustre leadership of Dany Sham'un's brother, Dory. Similarly, the National Bloc (al- Kutlah al-Wataniyya) had lost importance after its founder, Raymond Iddi, had left for France after his life was threatened in the mid- 1970s. Close surveillance by the internal security forces pressured partisans of 'Awn and J'aj'a to curtail most of their political activities to avoid arrest.

Looking at the lamentable state of the opposition, frustrated Christian political hopefuls began to calculate the costs and benefits of abandoning the boycott and joining the regime. It was difficult to predict whether the boycott called for from Paris by 'Awn, Jumayyil and Sham'un and supported by Iddi, in addition to the energetic campaigns likely to be launched by the government's powerful men, could be overcome. At any rate, the fluid situation encouraged many candidates to try their luck (see Table 2).





1992 1996
District Seats No. Canditates Lists Complete/inc. No. Canditates Lists Complete/inc.

Alay 5 23 1/1 24 2/3
B'abda 6 19 1/ 32 2/2
Jubayl 3 5 0/1 44 6/5
Kisrawan 5 20 3/* 25 2/-
Matn 8 20 1/ 37 2/-
Shuf 8 26 1/ 26 2/-

Total 35 105



* election rerun

Source: L'orient-le Jour (17 Aug. 1996)

The increased number of candidacies was a positive turn of events for the state, because the new contenders guaranteed that competitive elections would take place this time, and their participation would tend to neutralize the boycott and further divide an already fragmented Christian electorate. Moreover, any abstentions would cut into their own potential votes and not those of government candidates

But the situation was not cut and dried for the state. The right level of boycott needed to counterbalance the participating opposition's mobilization efforts was hard to calculate, as was the voters' response. The Christian opposition had linked its cause to the broader struggle for civil liberties and national independence and those issues might attract considerable support. In addition, some of the pillars of the goverment who were seeking re-election in Mount Lebanon were not only disliked for their political views but were also held in low public regard for their personal conduct at present and during the civil war. A revenge vote could not be discounted. The state, therefore, had to take strong measures to prevent the development of a situation in which the disaffected Christian majority could throw its voting weight behind a rival list or lists and ruin the chances of principal government candidates.

Government Manipulation of the Electoral Machinery

This problem was solved by returning to the 1992 electoral format, after a lengthy public debate on districting during which several options were discussed and discarded.15The machinery designed to exclude opposition candidates was in the form of an electoral law that applied only to the Israeli-occupied South and Mount Lebanon, and which stipulated that candidates would compete in sub-districts of these governorates rather than stand for election at the governorate level as required by the provisions of the Document of National Accord.16

The government claimed that its decision was based on exceptional conditions in those particular governorates. In Mount Lebanon, for instance, large numbers of forcibly displaced families had still not been able to return to their natal villages where voting takes place and the possibility of security incidents emanating from the prolonged social conflict between Christians and Druzes had not disappeared.17

Opponents of the electoral law rightly noted the open-ended nature of the state's argument. The goverment's incapacity to provide the displaced persons with means of repairing and rebuilding their homes, meant that their return was certainly not imminent. It was also pointed out that security was very tight where returning Christians were being reintegrated into areas of Druze concentration and that the stiffness that prevails between members of the two communities is not 'exceptional' for Druzes and Christians, who have a long history of confrontation. The real reason for the law, according to its critics, was that smaller districts allowed regime mainstays such as Junblat, Hubayka, al-Murr and Buwayz to bring their strength to bear in areas where their supporters were concentrated and where success was most favoured. Standing for election at the governorate level would dilute their influence by forcing them to face a large, highly antagonistic voting public whose members were likely to gang up against them.

The state's quandary in re-issuing the law that had been voted on a onetime-only basis in 1992, was whether the exclusionary machinery that had caused such a fuss previously, would again generate a backlash that would deprive the elections of any legitimacy. For this reason the submission of the new law to parliament was delayed until barely a month before Mount Lebanon's elections, when most candidates had already committed themselves to the competition. But even in the unusual case that the proposed law failed in parliament, government candidates still had a fallback position to save their seats. Article 27 of the Lebanese constitution stipulates that deputies represent the whole nation and that no restrictions may be imposed on their mandates by their electors. Candidates are thus free to stand for election in the place where they feel they have the best chance. Junblat, for instance, could have stood in Beirut if obliged to do so, where, as one of prime minister Hariri's list-mates, he would have had a good chance of re- election. However, this manoeuvre would have dealt his stature as 'mountain boss' a blow and opened the way to his traditional rival's ascendancy. Article 27 was thus a last resort mechanism for preserving parliamentary tenure.

Electoral Law No. 530 establishing the district as Mount Lebanon's electoral unit was passed by two thirds of the membership of the House and published on 12 July 1996. The law drew an immediate challenge from ten deputies on the basis that its third article violated constitutional provisions guaranteeing citizens equal treatment before the law. It was pointed out that under the terms of the law, a voter in Jubayl, for instance, would only endorse the candidates for the three seats allotted the district, and that winners would probably enter the parliament on the basis of some 10,000 votes or less. In contrast, a voter residing in North Lebanon, where the law did not apply, could vote for candidates for all 28 of the governorate's seats and these candidates would need upwards of 30,000 votes to win.18

When a verdict favourable to the plaintiffs was reached on the 8 August, the government, meeting in extraordinary sessions so that the electoral timetable could be maintained, quickly revised the contested article, and rammed it through the parliament just four days before Mount Lebanon's elections. The revised article stated that Mount Lebanon would be divided into six electoral districts 'due to exceptional circumstances and for one time only'. In other words, the amendment had not eliminated the constitutional violation, but had merely limited its duration. A challenge to the amended law was then attempted but abandoned when ten deputies could not be found to present it to the court. The former petitioners probably felt that they had made the required public gesture toward rectifying the violation of constitutional rights but that further action might be self-defeating in light of the chamber's overwhelming approval of the amended law.

This manoeuvre locked the machinery in place that made it impossible for the opposition to secure a united front against the government's candidates. Additionally, the delay in passing and revising the law also caused rival candidates severe setbacks, since there was little time left to mount effective campaigns. On the other hand, the political machines of the state's candidates, oiled by access to state resources, had been functioning for four years or longer.

Having dealt with the government's efforts to tilt the electoral playing field in favour of its own candidates before the Mount Lebanon elections even took place, it is now appropriate to examine how the six electoral processes covered in this study were further affected by the state's behaviour and by the other factors suggested to have played a critical part in the achievement of its goal.

Electoral Dynamics and Outcomes in Mount Lebanon


As Table 2 shows, Jubayl activists made a particularly sharp break with the 1992 electoral trend as more candidates and lists contested there than in any other district in 1996. Why was this the case? The candidates who had been elected in 1992 on the basis of a few dozen votes had few resources to manipulate and lacked strong government backing. This encouraged individuals with no previous political background, as well as members of traditional political families who had formerly boycotted the elections, to try their luck. The latter inherited their status from participation in the now defunct Constitutionalist Bloc (al-Kutlah al-Dusturiyya) founded by former president Bishara al-Khuri, and Iddi's National Bloc. Jean Hawat, a contender who was secretary general of the National Bloc until he was ejected on 25 July 1996 for failing to follow the boycott, explained his candidacy as an effort to preserve Jubayl's authentic political identity. A more realistic reason for Hawat's actions and for those of other former boycotters, however, was that these individuals had been on the sidelines of Lebanon's political life so long that partisan allegiance had been eroded and they were prompted to try to feather their own political nests.

The hard campaigning of these candidates produced the kind of atmosphere that brought the voters out in considerable numbers. According to one participant with whom the author spoke there were important reasons for this phenomenon that had little bearing on politics per se. These were the obligations of kinship, voters' friendly relations with a candidate or with his or her family members, and fear of reprisals, since some candidates were bank officials or business owners whose employees were under 'moral obligation' to campaign and vote for them. Allegiance to the candidates that were representing the region's traditional political groups came last in this list, and was considered a nostalgic reaction rather than a choice based on relevant ideological or programmatic issues.

The electoral climate created by the appearance of hundreds of posters, cavalcades of cars and feverish electioneering by candidates, brought about a voter turnout only eight per cent less than in 1972, the last 'normal' election before the war (see Table 3).

Both the Maronite incumbents and Hawat were defeated by Nuhad Suw'ayd, the wife of one of the politicians who had flourished in the Constitutionalist Bloc, and Emile Nawfal, a wealthy philanthropist. As pointed out previously these incumbents had entered the 1992 election unopposed and little known, and had taken seats in parliament on the basis of only a handful of votes. The Shiite incumbent, Mahmud 'Awad, however, presented a different case. Close to the leader of the Amal militia and speaker of the house, Nabih Birri, 'Awad received his support and retained his seat by gaining the election's highest tally - 7,591 votes. His victory illustrates the advantage of close association with a major regime figure, a trend in most of the 1996 elections.



District Registered Voters 1927 % Participation Registered Voters 1992 % Participation Registered Voters 1996 % Participation

Alay 60,000 61 100,262 24 100,635 50
B'abda 75,000 61 118,951 12 126,508 42
Jubayl 38,000 63 63,878 7 62,526 55
Kisrawan 55,000 57 79,431 21 79,067 51
Matn 92,000 49 127,035 14 144,452 45
Shuf 85,000 64 146,130 35 142,768 52

Note: Adjusted participation figures based on population for 1960, 1964 and 1968 are 62%, 67% and 67% for Mount Lebanon according to Iliya Harik, op. cit., p. 37.

Source: Ministry of the Interior


The resurgence of participatory zest that characterized the 1996 Jubayl elections despite the strident call for abstention by 'favourite son' Raymond Iddi, demonstrates the importance of the state's 1992 decision to ignore the boycott and carry on with scheduled elections. This heavyhanded action signalled the course the state would be likely to follow in consequent elections and thus discouraged participation in the boycott four years later.19


This trend also occurred in Kisrawan, where the dynamics of the allMaronite election were sparked by the personal antipathy of the contenders and by tension between president Hirawai and prime minister Hariri who were backing certain candidates. The tensions between these government officials arises from political reforms which established a collegial form of government in which the president and prime minister participate in decision making along with the entire council of ministers.20 This arrangement encourages a power struggle between the two chief executives and the speaker of the house, which prompts the adoption of various tactics to achieve predominance. Among these tactics are efforts to promote the candidacies of individuals whose personal loyalty is assured so as to build support in the legislative chamber, and to be able to place close associates of various faiths in the cabinet - subject of course to Syrian approval. in the Kisrawan election, President Hirawi's relative, Faris Buwayz, Minister of Foreign Affairs, headed one list, while deputies Mansur Ghanim al-Bun and Rushayd al-Khazin, men close to Hariri, led the other. These men and their list mates struggled to hold the seats they had won in 1992 when the election in Kisrawan finally took place.

Basing their approach on the political sensitivities of the district once facetiously called 'Marunistan' by the civil war's Muslim-leftist leaders, the al-Bun list candidates attempted to prove that they were less allegiant to the government than their rivals. It was asserted, for instance, that Buwayz's important cabinet post clearly marked him as a mainstay of the 'Ta'if team' - in other words those who welcomed co-operation with Syria.

Buwayz used that post effectively, however, to assure his victory. The wider access to state resources conveyed by the minister's higher authority and that of other candidates of his rank - Hubayka, Junblat, al-Murr and so on - meant that broader clientele networks could be serviced and maintained, and that favours would be repaid when election time came round. These men were able to count on the support of government employees, including members of the internal security forces, to staff campaign offices, and to mobilize and assist voters on election day.

Despite charges of fraud lodged by Buwayz against al-Bun as a result of an electrical power blackout that occurred at the moment votes were being counted at the Junyah polling station, and of al-Bun's undue influence in the appointment of polling station directors, all the Kisrawan incumbents were returned to parliament - the two on the foreign minister's ticket and the three on the opposing list. As in the case of Jubayl, the election campaign's thin ideological and programmatic content did not daunt public participation in an election that one observer claimed was 'all smoke and no fire'.


A similar campaign took place in B'abda where the election opposed the Maronite minister of hydro-electric resources, Eli Hubayka, to another Maronite incumbent, Dr Pierre Dakkash. Dakkash followed the same tactic as the 'anti -government' list in Kisrawan, contrasting his position as a member of the opposition with that of his rival's status as a Christian pillar of the post-war regime. However, his opposition credentials were somewhat tarnished because of a close relationship with one of defence minister al-Murr's relatives and the fact that Hubayka had left one of the Maronite seats on his list open, making it virtually impossible for Dakkash to fail.

Unlike other government candidates, Hubayka's secondary post limited his political reach and made the assistance of regime heavy weights imperative for his re-election. His relatively light-weight status in the postwar government was due to the fact that although the former Lebanese Forces militia leader had changed sides in 1985 and signed an accord with Junblat and Birri in Damascus, which set forth a formula to end the civil war, he had suffered a humiliating military defeat at the hands of Samir J'aj'a and his faction in 1986. At that time he was forced to seek asylum in West Beirut. His participation in the massacre of Palestinian civilians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in 1982 was another episode many could not forgive.

B'abda's diverse sectarian composition allowed Hubayka to form a list which included the associates of major government figures and ensured their backing. For instance, Hubayka was able to count on Birri's help in mobilizing support for the new Shiite candidate on his list and on Hariri's assistance to the Shiite incumbent, Basim al-Sabah. Walid Junblat rallied Druze voters behind his man on the list, incumbent Ayman Shukayr. These leaders urged their followers and the Armenian residents of B'abda to endorse the whole list which also included Maronite incumbent, Jean Ghanim. Among those on Dakkash's list, were Hizballah MP 'Ali'Ammar, an adamant yet loyalist critic of the government and Druze independent Bashir al-'Awar which heightened its ideological cachet. Some surprises were possible if former boycotters turned out in large numbers and voted for members of the loyal or 'internal' opposition.

Apparently to reduce the risks such an occurrence would involve, the locations of several of B'abda's polling places were changed on the day of the election without prior notice to candidates or voters. According to complaints lodged with the Ministry of the Interior, this manoeuvre resulted in the loss of votes for candidates who did not enjoy sizeable campaign organizations able to guide partisans to the new locales.

The results of the election represented another government sweep due in great part to a co-operative effort by the men making up the powerful state machine. Hubayka's tally of 25,995 votes, however, was far less than that received by the other government list leaders in the Mount Lebanon elections. And of the other B'abda list, only the incumbent, Dakkash was elected.

'Alay and Shuf

The dynamics of the competitions in 'Alay and Shuf districts were generated by inter-Druze rivalries of ancient origin and the pursuit of confessional interests, packaged as competing ideological stances. For centuries the Druze community has been divided along tribal-clan lines, which are seen today in the bitter rivalry of the Junblat and Arslan families. In the twists and turns of modern Lebanese politics, the Arslans sided with

Christian factions during the civil war, while the Junblats' militia was a mainstay of the Muslim-leftist alliance. Walid Junblat's control of Druze areas is virtually absolute as a result of the political outcomes of the Lebanese struggle. But the Arslans, whose 'ancestral fief' is located in 'Alay, have traditionally stayed close to the mainstream Christian residents of the mountains as a means of countering their rival's influence. This would have been a major threat to Junblati safe seats in parliament if the Mount Lebanon elections had taken place at the governorate level, where the Maronite vote would be decisive. Many therefore considered that the electoral law which established the district as the electoral unit was a major concession to Junblat's contribution to the war effort.

The 'Alay election sparked interest if for no other reason than that it permitted a public airing of the perennial inter-Druze conflict. Junblat's former Maronite list-mates, Fuad al-Saad and Pierre al-Hilo were now on Talal Arslan's list along with incumbent Marwan Abu-Fadel, a severe critic of prime minister Hariri's performance. Al- Saad and al-Hilo, who claimed that they had broken with the boycott in 1992 in order to aid in the resettlement of the Christian displaced persons in their area, were critical of Junblat's almost single-handed direction of the return process and the political mileage accruing to the minister responsible for displaced persons. These men, who had very little chance against the tightly-organized Junblat machine, lost the election, indicating that in this district, incumbency was less important than primary allegiance to the area's most powerful personality.

Arslan, on the other hand, knew his seat was secure because of the Druze imperative to protect the ascriptive leadership traditions of the community. As a gesture to the rules that keep Druze rivalry manageable, Junblat left one of the two Druze seats on his 'Alay list vacant so that Arslan could not fail and his rival returned the favour. Despite aspects of noblesse oblige involved in this manoeuvre, the 'Alay contest was marred by one of the governorate's most unfortunate incidents when Arslan's campaign manager, Akram 'Arbid, suffered a heart attack and died as a result of rough treatment at the hands of Junblat's partisans. Denouncing what he called his rival's many provocations Arslan also called attention to the unfair electoral advantages Junblat had enjoyed, observing, 'in the Mountain, there is a state within a state, where all civil servants are at the service of a well known political party'.21

In the Shuf a rival list was formed by Naji Bustany, a Maronite whose family had traditionally distanced itself from the Junblats. The election generated some interest due to the possibility that the displaced might break ranks with the boycott and support the 'Christian list' as a way of settling scores with Junblat.22 But here again, neither the political realities of the district nor the electoral machinery supported such a result. In the former instance Junblat's post as minister for the displaced made those hoping for resettlement funds and favours think twice about opposing his candidacy. And in the latter case, the rules requiring voters to return to their natal villages to vote disenfranchised many of Junblat's potential opponents since many of the displaced persons are not yet able to return. An electoral card issued by the Ministry of the Interior allowing the voter to cast his/her ballot at any voting centre would have removed this obstacle, and also eliminated many discrepancies in the voters' rolls which are presently verified by local officials. According to al-Murr, the Minister of the Interior, however, this was not feasible at the time.

The Matn

In contrast to the other elections, the competition in the Matn drew widespread public attention because of a promised showdown between al-Murr, one of the regime's most controversial figures, and popular candidates of stronger opposition credentials than most. The list opposing al-Murr's was headed by Nasib Lahud, a Maronite from one of the Matn's traditional political families who was not involved with any of the Christian parties or blocs. Lahud had run with al-Murr on the Matn's single list in 1992 as a matter of political expediency, but differed strongly from the minister's ideology and political style. Lahud, for instance, attracted broad public admiration when he placed his material assets in escrow upon entering parliament. This was a novelty that drew attention to the difference between the youngish deputy's ethics and those of some of his flagrantly corrupt and self-serving colleagues in the House of Representatives and the cabinet. And unlike the Kisrawan candidates who tried to play down the negative implications of their incumbency by trivial charges and countercharges, Lahud was able to stand on a consistent record of opposition to the regime based on both practical and ideological issues.

Lahud emphasized ideological issues by forming a coalition with Dr Albert Mukhaybir, an 87-year-old family medical practitioner who had boycotted the previous election. Mukhaybir, an outspoken critic of the government's civil liberties record and its growing co-operation with Syria, is widely regarded as a symbol of integrity and steadfastness in the shifting sands of Lebanese politics. He therefore went to great lengths to explain that his candidacy was not a rejection of opposition principles but an effort to rectify the grave tactical error made by the Paris-based opposition.23 The Lahud-Mukhaybir list stressed balance in the exercise of power, a redefinition of relations with Syria, the return of political life and protection of civil liberties. Al-Murr's list on the other hand, stood for 'co-operation with sisterly Syria to consolidate civil order within Lebanon', the antithesis of his rivals' agenda.

In the matter of consolidating civil order al-Murr had earned considerable public antagonism for the heavy-handed manner in which he had dealt with strikes by organized labour and manifestations by intellectuals protesting government infringement of civil rights. As the elections approached, the Minister of the Interior also came under criticism for refusing to grant a license to an independent election monitoring organization composed of college professors and other intellectuals - the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections. Claiming the group was a front for political personalities rather than a neutral public service organization, the minister derided the need for any inspection other than that done by his own bureau, but was not able to stop its activities. The competition between al-Murr and a man who appeared to be his antithesis, Dr Mukhaybir, both of whom are Greek Orthodox and who were running with another Orthodox list-mate for the Matn's two Orthodox seats, was thus particularly heated.

All things being equal, this ideological showdown could have given the government list severe problems. But all things were not equal. Al-Murr as a minister had access to significant state resources as did other government candidates, and his rivals did not. For instance, the Armenian candidate on his list was able to garner the votes of the whole Armenian community in the Matn, or about one quarter of the district's population, because Armenians traditionally vote as a solid bloc for the government list. This custom began during the years when the Christian establishment encouraged Armenian naturalization as a means of tilting Lebanon's delicate sectarian balance in their favour.24

The government's list was also assisted by the candidacy of an official of the Syrian Social National Party (SSNP), a secular leftist organization whose militia controlled parts of the northern Matn during the civil war. The rewards of this formerly proscribed party's performance were harvested after the war period in the form of parliamentary seats, a ministerial post and the general secretariat of the Supreme Syrian Lebanese Council.25 The SSNP's new importance and considerable membership generated electoral resources that the rival list could not match. And by the same token it was widely believed but unproved due to the risk involved in an investigation, that al-Murr was using another state asset - his government post - to influence the votes of those who were recently naturalized or whose applications were awaiting authorization by his ministry.

Interestingly, the state weighed into the Matn campaign by changing its repressive behaviour towards members of the Awnist group of supporters. Realizing the boycott would cut into Lahud and Mukhaybir's chances and assist al-Murr's chances, internal security agents looked the other way when Awnists staged public demonstrations in favour of the boycott in Matn towns.

These tactics and advantages could not be countered by Lahud and Mukhaybir whose campaign never really got off the ground due to its late start. As a result, Lahud was the only member on the rival list to gain a parliamentary seat while the minister of the interior received 43,407 votes, the highest score recorded in Mount Lebanon's elections. Dr. Mukhaybir was prevented from obtaining the other Greek Orthodox seat by al-Murr's list mate, Raji Abu Haydar, who had been flown in from the United States to register his candidacy the night before the deadline. Abu Haydar received 30,331 votes to Mukhaybir's 26,270.26 In a post-election interview Murr crowed that Mukhaybir the 'Christian's champion' (al-batal al-Misihiyya) had been fairly defeated in a democratic election with a voter turnout comparable to those in Switzerland and France.

The 1996 Elections and Due Process

The various election monitoring agencies took the Lebanese government to task for engineering as well as turning a blind eye to blatant violations of citizens' rights during the parliamentary elections. The tardy and illegal electoral law and its hasty amendment as well as the government's failure 'to retain a neutral stance in the elections at a time when a majority of the cabinet ministers were candidates', and reluctance to prevent the intervention of state services to influence the election results, were all cited as egregious distortions of due process.27

Infractions of electoral law and fraud perpetrated by the government candidates or by their partisans as a result of their 'inside track' with officials manning state services were legion, according to the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections. Some of the breaches of due process reported were fraudulent additions and subtractions of thousands of names from the electoral rolls, harassment of campaign workers, candidates and voters, the division of recently naturalized voters between polling places according to the needs of government candidates, use of public transport vehicles by certain candidates to drive voters to the polls, and replacement of polling station directors considered neutral, by partisans of the government candidates.

It was further pointed out that the delay in the formation of government lists in Mount Lebanon was a means of ensuring that candidates who were seeking places on these lists remained in the competition until after the deadline for withdrawals and the return of the $7,000 election fee had passed. Several candidates interviewed by the author revealed their belief that the delay had also helped to inflate the price of a place on an important list, and mentioned sums ranging between $600,000 and a million dollars as the going price for inclusion on a 'government ticket' in 1996. These practices reveal the elections' lottery-like dimension.

The media too, assisted in the promotion of state interests. Due to lack of campaign time, opposition candidates looking for quick exposure could have been greatly assisted if they were given access to paid television advertising. But legal machinery set up to prevent monopoly of the audiovisual media by wealthy candidates hurt the challengers far more than the major government list leaders, because the latter appeared night after night on news broadcasts and talk shows in the weeks preceding the elections. Balanced exposure for the opposition was never under consideration by state-owned or private television stations, almost all of which are owned by or affiliated with key associates of the regime.

The election process finally came to a conclusion almost a year later when partial elections were held at the governorate level in the North and the Biq'a and at the district level in Jubayl. These elections took place as a result of complaints lodged with the Constitutional Council by 20 disappointed candidates who claimed elections irregularities had taken place and demanded annulment of the election results. After a lengthy investigation, the court dismissed all but four complaints and called for partial elections to be held in June 1997. In these contests, three MPs retained the seats they had won the previous year, and one, Henry Shadid of the Biq'a, lost his place in parliament to Robert Ghanim, a former Minister of Education.

Of the seven complaints brought to the Council by Mount Lebanon candidates, only the one raised by Jubayl incumbent Nazem al-Khuri against Emile Nawfal was considered persuasive by the justices. Al-Khuri, who was favoured by certain ministers, charged that at several polling stations the ballot boxes were allowed to be stuffed in Nawfal's favour. In the re-run election, however, Nawfal, who had won by only 300 votes in 1996, obtained a margin of 2,687 votes over his rival despite the strong backing given al-Khuri by government figures. Nawfal's victory led Emile Iddi, a strong adherent of the boycott, to wire a message from Paris congratulating his party members and the people of Jubayl who had worked to defeat the government's candidate and 'to uphold the democratic tradition of the region'. As it transpired, this was one of very few 'breakthroughs' in the 1996 elections.

Although many found satisfaction in the fact that the legal machinery appeared to have functioned properly when given the chance to do so, it must be acknowledged that cases involving the most prominent government candidates were rejected by the court for an election re-run. This raises the question of whether it would be possible for the judiciary to hear and act on cases of citizen disempowerment where victories by mainstays of the regime or their close cohorts were involved. In this respect it should be borne in mind that the evidence needed to substantiate plaintiffs' claims of electoral irregularities is available only through the Ministry of the Interior.

Conclusions and Implications

This study sheds further light on the complex process of citizen disempowerment that began a new stage after the civil war ended in 1990. Focusing on Mount Lebanon's parliamentary elections, it shows how the state tried to prevent the replacement of untrustworthy members of the government and their allies in the legislative chamber by eschewing electoral neutrality and adopting or turning a blind eye to measures that favoured incumbents and ruined the chances of their opponents.

The reasons why the state's districting manoeuvre failed to daunt opposition candidates who entered the elections in considerable numbers, were examined. We found that these candidates' awareness of the effects of unchanged situational factors and traditional elite practices on electoral outcomes had encouraged them to perceive abstention as self-defeating. They counted on voter rejection of the boycott called by the hard-core opposition as well as the unpopularity of government list leaders to give them a chance of winning in the elections. However, the fact that newcomers, former rejectionists, and parliamentary back-benchers fought each other for the same opposition votes made their chances of achieving a serious breakthrough almost nil. Yet their struggle endowed the elections with a sense of competition that brought a respectable turnout of voters and gave the elections an aura of legitimacy.

An important finding was the diversified and effective manner in which regime goals were consolidated by government candidates pursuing their own interests. Relying on norms of electoral behaviour that have traditionally prolonged tenure in the House of Representatives, these men racked up considerable scores in what were declared to be 'fair fights'. In reality, however, the local political machines these men had built up during their incumbency, the resources made available to them through their state connections, help from powerful government colleagues and partisans willing to ignore the rules of due process, were all exploited to overwhelm rival candidates.

These and other factors involved in the achievement of state electoral goals reveal that disempowerment as a by- product of purportedly democratic elections is a complex and sometimes dangerous operation for the state. Eventually this disempowermnent transforms the voter into something of an accessory before the fact; in legal terms, an individual not constructively present but contributing to a public offence. The 'offence' in this case is perpetuating the monopoly of political life by a few individuals whose accountability is twice removed from the ordinary citizen, owing to the ultimate allegiance of these 'representatives' and ministers to Syrian decision- makers.

This monopoly has deepened as a result of the sweeping victories achieved by government candidates in Mount Lebanon and in all the other governorates.28The institutional implications of this trend are clearly revealed in Figure 1, which demonstrates the large proportion of representatives accountable to the prime minister, who unsurprisingly, was returned to office along with speaker of the House of Representatives, Birri, and the other major officers of the chamber.29



Distribution of Power in the 1996 Parliament

Source: L'Orient-le-Jour, 18 Sept. 1996, p.2.


Hariri also benefits from the support of the Junblat, Birri, al-Murr and SSNP blocs on substantial issues, and attracts the votes of many of the unaffiliated MPs as their interests dictate, indicating the extent to which fusion of the branches of government has progressed in the post-war period. Ironically, of the two opposition blocs seated in the parliament, the largest is formed by Muslim fundamentalists while the other is led by former prime minister, Dr Salim al-Hus, the man whose government invited Syrian troops to enter West Beirut in 1988 to restore order.

The post-war establishment's legislative renewal means another four years of 'sisterly co-operation with Syria'. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that a similar situation might well have prevailed after 1982 if Bashir and his Israeli sponsors had been able to survive until the legislative branch was brought under control. Given the flaws in Lebanon's brand of democracy as well as the predicament it still faces with its neighbours, the principal question now is not how and when democracy might eventually come about, but whether the concept of democratization, implying citizen empowerment, has any real meaning at all, in regard to Lebanon's experience and future trajectory.


The American University of Beirut



1. See, for instance, Bahjat Korany, Rex Brynen and Paul Noble (eds.), Political Liberalization and Democratization the Arab World, Vol.I, Theory (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1996), Vol.II, Arab Experiences (forthcoming). back

2. See Paul E. Salem and Farid el-Khazin, al- intikhabat al-ula fi Lubnan ma b'ad al-harb: al-arkam wa al-wakii wa al-dalalat (The First Elections in Lebanon after the War: Numbers, Facts and Evidence) (Beirut: The Lebanese Center for Research, 1993), and Judith P. Harik, 'Democracy Derailed: Lebanon's Ta'if Paradox', in Korany el al., Political Liberalization, Vol.11, Arab Experiences. back

3. The following electoral studies point out many gaps between 'due process' in Lebanon and the genuine article: Malcolm H. Kerr, 'The 1960 Lebanese Parliamentary elections', Middle Eastern Affairs, Vol.11, No.9 (1960), pp.266-75; Nicola A. Ziadeh, 'The Lebanese Elections, 1960', The Middle East Journal, Vol.14, No.4 (1960), pp.367-82; Jacob M. Landau, 'Elections in Lebanon', The Western Political Quarterly, Vol.14, No.1 (1961), pp.120-47; Michael C. Hudson, 'The Electoral Process and Political Development in Lebanon', The Middle East Journal, Vol.20, No.2 (1966), pp. 17-86; Michael W. Suleiman, 'Elections in a Confessional Democracy', The Journal of Politics, Vol.29, No. 1 (1967), pp.109-28; Iliya Harik, 'Voting Participation and Political Integration in Lebanon', Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.16, No.1 (1980), pp.28-48; and Ralph Crowe, 'Electoral Issues: Lebanon', in Jacob M. Landau, Ergun Ozbudun and Frank Tachau (eds.), Electoral Politics in the Middle East (London. Croom Helm, 1980), pp.39-68. back

4. Some of the works cited above also focus on specific electoral districts. For instance, Iliya Harik's covers two elections in the Greater Beirut area, Ziadeh's explains the mechanisms of electoral alliances in the Matn, Shuf and 'Alay districts, and Michael Suleiman analyses elections in the Shuf and Jubayl districts. back

5. See Farid el-Khazin's analysis, The Communal Pact of National Minorities: the Making and Politics of the 1943 National Pact, Papers on Lebanon Series, No. 12 (Oxford: Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1991). back

6. Safiya Saadeh 'Greater Lebanon: The Formation of a Caste System?', in Youssef M. Choueri (ed.), State and Society in Syria and Lebanon (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 1993), p.72. back

7. Arnold Hottinger, 'Zu'ama in Historical Perspective', in Leonard Binder (ed.), Politics in Lebanon (New York: John Wiley 1987), pp.85-105. back

8. For instance, Ghassane Salame points out that 43 per cent of the deputies in the 1968-72 parliament were either sons, grandsons, cousins or other relatives of someone who had either been, or still was, a deputy, in Lebanon 's Injured Identities: Who Represents Whom during a Civil War?, Papers on Lebanon Series, No.2 (Oxford: Centre for Lebanese Studies, 1986), p.22. See also Samir Khalaf, 'Primordial Ties and Politics in Lebanon', Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.4, No.3 (1968), pp.243-69 and 'Parliamentary Elites', in Landau et al., Electoral Politics, op. cit., pp.243-71, and Iliya Harik, 'Political Elites of Lebanon', in G. Lenczowski (ed.), Political Elites in the Middle East (Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute, 1975), pp.201-20. See also Khalaf's 'Changing Forms of Political Patronage', in Ernest Gellner and John Waterbury (eds.), Patrons and Clients in Mediterranean Societies (London: Duckworth, 1977). back

9. See Elaine Hagopian, 'From Maronite Hegemony to Maronite Militancy', Third World Quarterly, Vol..11, No.4 (1989), pp.101-15. For information on Israel's goals in Lebanon, see Ze'ev Schiff and Ehud Ya'at, Israel 's Lebanon War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984) and Avi Shlaim 'Israeli Intervention in Internal Arab Politics: the Case of Lebanon', in Giacomo Luciani (ed.), The Politics of Arab Integration, Vol. IV (London: Croom Helm, 1988). Syria's interests in Lebanon are covered in Itamar Rabinovich, 'Controlled Conflict in the Middle East: the Syrian/Israeli Rivalry in Lebanon', in Gabriel Ben-Dor and David B. Dewitt (eds.), Conflict Management in the Middle East (Lexington, MA,: Lexington Books, 1987), pp.97-111. back

10. S. Ziadeh and Elaine Hagopian cover Syria's ascendancy and its effects in Lebanon in 'The Realignment of Power in Lebanon: Internal and External Dimensions', Arab Studies Quarterly, Vol.7, No.4 (1985), pp.5-7. back

11. See Paul E. Salem, 'Two Years of Living Dangerously: General Awn and the Precarious Rise of Lebanon's "Second Republic"', Beirut Review, Vol.l, No.1 (1991), pp.81-7 for a discussion of the obstacles facing the new regime, and pp. 119-64 for the constitutional amendments of 1990 and other provisions of the Document of National Accord. back

12. Salim Nasr, The Lebanese Parliament: the Vacant Seats, Background Paper No.6 (Beirut Center for Peace and Reconstruction in Lebanon, 1990). back

13. See Fida Nasrallah, 'The Treaty of Brotherhood, Cooperation and Coordination: An Assessment', in Choueri, State and Society, op. cit., pp. 103-11. back

14. See Salem and el-Khazin, al-intikhabat al-ula, op. cit. back

15. For a review of Lebanon's experiments with electoral legislation, see Jacob M. Landau, 'Elections in Lebanon', op. cit., pp. 125-8. back

16. These provisions stipulate that 'the electoral district in the governorate (muhafaza) and shall be thus until the adoption by the chamber of deputies of an electoral law excluding political confessionalism'. back

17. For information on Lebanon's displaced persons, see Middle East Contemporary Survey, Vol.18 (1983-84), pp.560-62 and Robert Kasparian and Andre Beaudoin, La Population Deplacée au Liban: 1975-1987 (Ottawa: Centre de Researches pour le Développement International, 1989). back

18. Other irregularities were also placed before the court, such as the fact that government functionaries and Lebanese University professors must resign their posts to run for parliament, but under the present law are not given the right to take up their former posts it' they resign their parliamentary seats or fail to be elected. This was corrected. back

19. A roving correspondent covering Jubayl's elections for L'Orient-le Jour (19 Aug. 1996) reported that the boycott was followed only in Iddi, the politician's natal village. back

20. See The Beirut Review, op. cit., pp. 127-8 for the text of Articles 17 and 18 of the Lebanese Constitution as amended on 21 Aug. 1990. back

21. L'Orient-le Jour, 21 Aug. 1996, p.2. back

22. Ziadeh, 'The 1960 Elections', op. cit., p.374 provides information to show that campaigns had distinctive confessional overtones in the Druze areas, as in 1958 when President Camille Sham'un vied with Kamal Junblat, Walid's father. Sham'un won and Junblat did not regain his seat until 1964. back

23. L'Orient-le Jour, 16 July 1996, p.3. back

24. Considering al-Murr's advantage a foregone conclusion, Lahud and Mukhaybir made no effort to fill the Armenian place on their ticket. When criticised by members of opposition groups for making their alliance with al-Murr, Armenian leaders explained that their decision was wholly strategic. back

25. For details see Nasrallah, 'The Treaty of Brotherhood', op. cit., pp. 108-9. back

26. As Suleiman noted in 'Elections in a Confessional Democracy', op. cit., p.124, there is an abiding tendency for the list-mates of important politicians to win because of the leader's prestige and not necessarily because of ideological or programmatic affinity. back

27. See for instance the report of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, an-Nahar, 10 Oct. 1996, p.2. back

28. In the south of Lebanon Syria compelled rival Shiite militias Amal and Hizballah to join forces as they did in 1992, for the sake of resistance solidarity. This order was issued only a week before the elections and caused considerable embarrassment in both camps since hardhitting campaigns were already in full swing. Co-operation was also ordered in the Biq'a-Hirmil election, where, as in the south, incumbents swept the field. In Beirut, prime minister Hariri's 28-member list won all but four seats, while in the north of Lebanon the only surprises were that Butros Harb, a Maronite deputy who abstained in 1992, returned to the fold and a newcomer took a seat. Members of the Christian opposition running as independents in several areas were all defeated. back

29. Hariri was awarded the premiership by 10 1 of the 126 deputies present on 24 October 1996. All of Mount Lebanon's bosses resumed their ministerial duties. back

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