LEBANON
Parliamentary Chamber: Majlis Al-Nuwwab

ELECTIONS HELD IN 2000

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Chamber:
  Majlis Al-Nuwwab


Dates of elections / renewal (from/to):

  27 August 2000
3 September 2000


Purpose of elections:

  Elections were held for all the seats in Parliament on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.


Background and outcome of elections:

  On 28 June 2000, the Deputy Premier and Minister of the Interior, Michael al-Murr, announced the date of the two rounds of the parliamentary elections: 27 August 2000 for Mount Lebanon and North Lebanon, and 3 September 2000 for the provinces of the Bekaa, Beirut, and the South al-Nabatieh, including the strip of land occupied by Israel from 1978 until May 2000, whose voters went to the polls for the first time.

A total of 2.7 million Lebanese were eligible to vote for the 128-member single-chamber Parliament, (the seats are shared equally between Moslems and Christians). About 1.3 million voters chose the first 63 members of the Parliament from among 286 candidates in the first round while the other 1.4 million had the opportunity to cast their ballots for candidates running for the 65 seats in the second round.

The electoral campaign was characterised as the most corrupt since the termination of the civil war. In its closing weeks, the long list of irregularities grew with the utilization of the country's audiovisual media as an instrument of slander. Before the poll, Parliament rejected legislation that would have capped campaign spending, and former Prime Minister (1992-1998) Rafiq al-Hariri, a billionaire businessman, was said to have spent US$ 50 million on his own campaign and on those of his various allies.

Of the 63 seats contested in the first round, 41 were won by candidates critical of the government. Many of them were in some form of alliance with Mr Hariri. The opposition Druse leader Walid Jumblatt won an overwhelming victory in the Mount Lebanon area, where the opposition won 22 of the 35 seats. During the campaign, Mr Jumblatt, called for greater balance in Beirut's relations with Damascus and criticised what he saw as the pro-Syrian government of President Lahoud. Also among main opposition victors in other areas were Pierre Gemayel, son of former President Amin Gemayel, and Nassib Lahhoud, a dissident cousin of President Lahoud.

Turnout which ranged between 33 and 66 per cent indicated that voters had paid little attention to the boycott called by a coalition of the three main Christian opposition parties, which alleged that the outcome had already been decided by Damascus. The Christian parties are the most vocal critics of the Syrian presence in Lebanon. They boycotted the last two parliamentary polls in 1992 and 1996 on similar grounds.

President Emile Lahoud, regarded as a Syrian ally, predicted a free and fair ballot, but troops were deployed throughout the voting areas in force. The Minister of the Interior, Michael al-Murr declared, after the first round, that voting had been orderly. However, the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, an independent poll observer, reported several irregularities like voting booths not equipped with curtains and the use of municipal vehicles by a former minister to transport voters.

For the second round, in the South, the Shi'ite Moslem Hezbollah movement was the one that enjoyed the greatest prestige for its part in forcing the Israelis out of Southern Lebanon. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's Amal movement had allied itself with Hezbollah for the election.

The results of the second round showed that the Dignity List headed by Mr Hariri had wonall the 18 seats in Beirut in addition to the seat of the Hezbollah's candidate who was supported by Mr. Hariri. Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss, who was standing in a Beirut constituency, lost his seat.

Mr Hariri was also supported by 23 winning candidates fielded by the joint Amal-Hezbollah coalition in southern Lebanon. At the close of the two rounds, Mr Hariri and his allies had won 92 of the 128 seats.

Two days after the end of the elections, Syria welcomed the outcome of the poll and the election of Mr Hariri. On 23 October 2000, President Emile Lahoud, after consultation with the newly elected members of Parliament, asked Mr Hariri to form Lebanon's next government. The Parliament had held its first session and re-elected Mr Berri as its Speaker on 17 October 2000.

STATISTICS
Round no 1 (27 August 2000): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 1 300 000
Voters 51%
Round no 1 (3 September 2000): Elections results  
Number of registered electors 1 400 000

Round no 1: Distribution of seats  
Political Group Total
Resistance and Development List 23
al-Karamah (Dignity) 18
Baalbek Hermel List 10
National Struggle Lis 8
Mount Lebanon Unity 8
Decision List 6
Popular Bloc 6
Coalition 6
Independents 20
Others 13

Comments:
  The first round was held in the provinces of North Lebanon and Mont Lebanon
The second round was held in the provinces of Beirut, the Bekaa Valley and South Lebanon.

Distribution of seats according to sex:  
Men: 125
Women: 3
Percent of women: 2.34


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Copyright 2000 Inter-Parliamentary Union