Friday, March 13, 2009

Assessment of the Electoral Framework

Assessment of the Electoral Framework is a fascinating report published by Democracy Reporting International and the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) published in December 2008.

The document highlights the pros and cons of the new electoral law that was introduced in Sept 08.

To be kind and start with the positives the law has improved, according to the report, the following:
1. Additional safeguards against electoral fraud such as transparent ballot boxes and inking of fingers.

2. Holding of elections in one day

3. Detailed regulation of campaign financing and media coverage

4. Oversight by supervisory commission SCEC (Supervisory Commission on the Electoral Campaign) - however, the report questions how effective this commission in the Lebanese political context.

The negatives of this new law are seen as:
1. Most serious negative aspect is the ballot paper. On the left is a prepared ballot paper, the most common type of ballor paper, for the Baabda-Aley district in the 2005 election that was given out to voters. Voters can cross out who they don't want to vote for and write in the name of their alternative choice. However, as can be seen this ballot paper does not leave much room for such choice. Thus, as the report states the issue of introducing an offical ballor paper is the most glaring omission in the new law. In some cases, the report states, napkins have been used as ballot papers.
(All this is despite politicians promising that they would introduce an official uniform ballot paper. However, when it came to vote in parliament those that said they would vote for change did quite the opposite.)

2.The report also states that becuase the new law accentuates confessional differences this system is "increasing the long-term potential for conflict in the country."

3. The security environment remains a concern.

To read the report in

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