Lebanon elects a new Parliament: A breakdown of divisions, winners and losers

L'Orient Today
Fecha de publicación: 
17 Mayo 2022

Official results are in for Lebanon’s legislative elections, with the incoming Parliament set to be a contested one: Hezbollah and its allies have failed to retain their majority, while the withdrawal of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement opened the path for a re-shuffling of the rest of the establishment in Parliament, with opposition figures now holding a bloc in parliament.

The first election since the mass protests against the ruling class on Oct. 17, 2019 and the collapse of the country’s economy, which the World Bank dubbed a “deliberate depression” orchestrated by the elite, saw lower turnout than in 2018.

Candidates considered opposition to the establishment won 13 seats in the Parliament, according to L’Orient Today’s tally of the final results, including surprise victors such as Elias Jaradeh, who cracked through the Hezbollah-Amal tandem in Marjayoun-Hasbaya and Firas Hamdan, a fellow candidate on the “Together Towards Change” list who bested Marwan Kheireddine, a prominent banker and former minister running with the Hezbollah-Amal list.

Kheireddine was one of several establishment figures who went down to defeat in the polls Sunday. His brother-in-law Talal Arslan, a prominent Druze politician who heads the Hezbollah-aligned Lebanese Democratic Party, lost his seat in Parliament in Mount Lebanon IV’s Chouf-Aley, where opposition figures, including Marc Daou, chalked up three victories.

While Arslan failed in the elections, his rival, establishment fixtures the Progressive Socialist Party, led by Walid Joumblatt, won eight seats. The PSP has often positioned itself as a swing vote in Lebanon’s modern political history.

Faisal Karami, the scion of one of the country’s leading political dynasties — his father served two terms as premier and his uncle eight times — lost in Tripoli, where one opposition candidate, Ramy Kanj, who ran with the “Revolt for Justice and Sovereignty” list that was supported by the National Bloc and various opposition groups, won a seat.

Also in Tripoli, Ashraf Rifi, a former Internal Security Forces head who ran on a vehemently anti-Hezbollah platform in a joint list with the Lebanese Forces, won a Sunni seat. This will be his first term in Parliament.

With all eyes on Sunni turnout after Hariri announced in January that he and his party were stepping back from political life, the Beirut II district in the western part of the city — a political base for the Future Movement — sent three opposition candidates to the Parliament, including Melhem Khalaf, who famously won the Beirut Bar Association elections in late 2019 amid a then-larger protest movement in the streets of the capital.

Initial analysis by L’Orient Today found there appeared to be a “Hariri effect,” with lower voter participation in districts with Sunni majority populations. In North II, Tripoli-Minyeh, participation dropped by 6.89 percentage points from 2018 to 2022 and in South I, Saida-Jezzine, it decreased by 9.02 percentage points. Candidates affiliated with the Future Movement won eight seats in the Parliament, despite the party officially backing out of the elections.

The Lebanese Forces, which allied in Tripoli with Rifi won 19 seats in Parliament, making it the largest single party in the Parliament, a status held by the Future Movement in the previous legislature.

Their arch-rivals, the Free Patriotic Movement, are no-longer the largest Maronite party in Parliament, winning 17 seats. FPM allies Tashnag won another three seats, while Marada Movement, which along with the FPM were considered part of the March 8 alliance along with Hezbollah, won two seats.

FPM leader Gebran Bassil and Marada Movement leader Sleiman Frangieh are both rivals for the Presidency, with the new Parliament set to vote on Michel Aoun’s replacement for the post at the end of October.

The Amal Movement, whose head Nabih Berri has been the speaker of the Parliament since 1992, won 14 seats, while their allies Hezbollah won 13 places, notching some of the highest popular vote tallies among districts in the country.

Rounding out the major parties were the Kataeb, who are opposed to Hezbollah and style themselves as opposition to the political system, winning four seats. The remaining 27 seats went for people not in a major party, ranging from Osama Saad — a Saida MP who has railed against the establishment in his rhetoric — to Jamil al-Sayyed, a former security chief who said politicians should shoot at protesters if they came outside their houses. 

Source: Lebanon elects a new Parliament: A breakdown of divisions, winners and losers - L'Orient Today (lorientlejour.com)