US elections Lesson learned for Lebanon, PART II
Part 1 of this series explored how the ease and openness of the electoral process positively impacted the turnout and overall legitimacy of elections. However, it is equally important to examine the importance of increasing the involvement and participation of youth, women, and other marginalized groups in the electoral process. Their vote is crucial to strengthen democratic, liberal, and institutional ideals and stem the rising tide of populism and authoritarianism. Therefore, Part 2 of this series will explore the different methods to increase the political participation of youth, women, and minorities in the electoral process, emphasizing how to reach them through social media. Meanwhile, keeping in line with the basic premises…
US elections Lesson Learned for Lebanon
April 19, 2021 The new US president has been elected, sworn in, and his new administration is up and running. After an ‘eventful’ election night that stretched into a week, a long counting period, unending litigations, ending with an attack on the US capitol. Personally, it was very interesting to follow the electoral process, from polling to projections, the ups and downs that accompanied the elections, and the inner working of a modern democracy, and how it resists authoritarian creep. What made it even more captivating was how the elections results and a new US administration will impact Lebanon, the region, and the world. This series of articles will try…
The Data Liberation Project
A few days after the May 6, 2018 parliamentary, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) published the results. The initial results were in a PDF format, with limited information. They lacked a breakdown of participation or voting per district. As an avid analyst with an interest in data and patterns recognition, that was very frustrating. Fortunately, the MOI released the full results a week later. However, the MOI also published these results in a static PDF format, grouped by the preliminary counting committees, severely limiting any possible analysis and cross linkage. Consequently, I started working on possible methods to convert and reorganize the data to make it easily accessible, and then…
A detailed analysis of SAIDA’s 2018 electoral result!
Rafik Hariri’s legacy can be traced back to this once small city, on the Mediterranean, with its plentiful orange orchards and long history. He was born there, and his siblings and distant family are still living in the city. Rafik Hariri helped rebuild and renovated Saida’s infrastructure after the 1982 Israeli invasion, building roads, school, and various projects. Thus, the two Sunni MPs of the city have always had a symbolic importance. In 2009, for the first time since the formation of the Future Movement (FM) party, it was able to win both seats. Unfortunately, in 2018 FM failed to repeat this feat and their old adversary Oussam Saad took…
Details of the mistakes
Unfortunately, as i mentioned in my analysis of the turnout numbers, there are two mistakes that i was able to catch in the official numbers. the first one: it concerns Zahleh’s fifth counting committee, where a ballot box usually holding 600 registered persons plus or minus (as inferred by most ballot boxes in this sub-committee) had 315,617 as the number of registered. so to solve this issue i assumed that it was 617. The second is similar to the first, but in Tripoli. Here too, a ballot that was supposed to hold in 600’s was put in for 62,581. again i corrected it as 625.
A first look at the numbers!
The detailed results are finally out, so after a thorough analysis of the turnout and other general numbers, I arrived to these conclusions. Unfortunately, before going into the analysis, it is important to note that I discovered two errors in the documents published on the official website (one added 62,000 and the other added 315,000 to number of registered, heavily skewing the turnout). I tried to correct them to the best of my ability. You can find more details about these errors in here. Fortunately, these errors are limited to the registered numbers, and do NOT affect the results. However, the fact that there are two errors might indicate that…
Still no official results!
It’s been three days, and no official results has been made available. the Minister of Interior announced on TV the list of the winning candidates, without Akkar, where apparently recounts were being done. The results were read live, and no detailed results were supplied. Officially that was it. Meanwhile, unofficial numbers are floating around, such as these results of Beirut-2, and a semi-official list of winning candidates and their preferential votes was circulated on whatsapp. We are still missing number of voters, invalid and white ballots, lists votes, losing candidates results… Unfortunately, the Interior Ministry official website is still empty and the wait goes on!
The official results and detailed numbers are still not out, casting a lengthening shadow on the electoral process. Nevertheless, there are a few conclusion that can already be made: 1- the monolithic iron control of the Shiite duo (Amal and Hezbollah) over their constituency and regions, is intact, almost absolute, and crushing. They won a full slate in two southern regions, in a PROPORTIONAL law, with the precense of a small but significant minority in one of these regions. 2- the Lebanese Forces have significantly benefitted from the law, as their support is strong but scattered over many regions. Their numbers of MPs jumped by over 100% 3- The Aounist…
During E-day and the early hours of counting, there are a few indicators that could help us discern the election trends before the full counting is done. First and foremost are the participation numbers! Indeed these numbers are critical, especially for major parties, like FM, FPM, LF and Hezbollah and Amal. For example, in 2009 in Beirut III district only 38% voted. In this election, FM needs to raise this into the mid-forties to ensure that most of the small lists will not reach the threshold, thus raising the number of seats FM will win. Similarly, in Tripoli and Akkar, the more people vote the better it is for FM.…
Beirut (with both districts) has 19 seats, making almost 15% of the the parliament. The number might seems big, but keep in mind, Lebanon is a very centralized country, with most of its economy, services, education, government institutions located in Beirut.* However, it is not just the number of MPS that is important, winning in Beirut is highly symbolic and is almost a requirement for a President, or after the war for the Prime Minister. Indeed, because of its symbolic status, Beirut districts have always been gerrymandered, to shore up or strike down a leader. For example, in 1957 elections ** President Chamoun added the largely Christin neighborhood of Achrafieh…