Sectarianism as a Means to Liberal Ends

One of the more interesting ways of thinking about Lebanese politics in the last few years was the idea that Lebanese Sectarianism, although morally bankrupt, paradoxically leads to good things like freedom, pluralism and progess. In March 2011, Michael Young wrote: The [Lebanese] sectarian order is deeply debilitating, but it also offers the only mechanism […]

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The Quota for Women is a Very Lebanese Idea

The Lebanese cabinet was busy discussing reforms to the electoral law yesterday. For this we should credit the heroic efforts of the civil campaign for electoral reforms which has been diligently pushing this important issue. The discussions will resume later and the next item on their list will be the “quota for women”, i.e. the […]

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Don't Demonize Proportional Representation

Attacking a good idea for political expediency.. There’s a new talking point in Beirut: An electoral law based on proportional representation is evil because it reinstates Damascus’ influence by increasing the power of its allies in Lebanon. I understand when people like MP Walid Jumblatt peddle such rubbish. After all, he stands to significantly lose […]

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The Notorious Abu Ismail

– Spoof ad campaign for Hazem Salah Abou Ismail, an Islamist candidate for the Egyptian presidency – Candidates for elections do crazy stuff, and most of them enjoy some kinds of publicity stunts. But some candidates are so relentless, so ubiquitous, so larger than life that their campaigns eventually take lives of their own on […]

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How to Improve Lebanese Elections

Complex ideas like proportional representation and electoral reform, despite being so important, are difficult to explain to the general public. I’ve tried once with a pizza and sushi metaphor, but even that was confusing to many. To the rescue comes the Lebanese Civil Campaign for Electoral Reform (CCER). They have just put together a video […]

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Can Lebanon Ever Have an Independent Electoral Commission ?

President Sleiman had a good idea today: We need to establish an independent body to monitor the upcoming Lebanese parliamentary elections in 2013, because: An electoral system that ensures a healthy representation for all the components of the society reflects the will of the Lebanese to live together A wonderful sentiment. Independent electoral commissions are […]

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Where Would You Like To Have Dinner Tonight?

Since everyone is talking about the electoral system, I figured I’d pitch in with a little poster in support of the principal of proportional representational. It was inspired by a similar poster made for a UK referendum but I adapted it for the Lebanese. Don’t forget to spread it around!

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Who Are These People?

Steven Cook on liberal Egypt’s shock at the success of Salafists: given the world in which many Egyptian liberals exist, they can’t seem to fathom where the Salafis come from so they complain about Saudi money and the manipulations of Habeeb al Adly’s Interior Ministry in the late Mubarak era, but I have news for […]

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