Turning a Research Idea into a National Movement
How LCPS’ Advocacy Initiative Led to Municipal Elections
Reflecting on the Past
The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies was selected by the International Forum for Democratic Studies, part of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to present previous work of the center as a prime example of successful advocacy and how a think tank can fruitfully translate research idea into policy. On June 3, 2013, as part of the launch of the report entitled “Democracy Think Tanks in Action: Translating Research into Policy in Young and Emerging Democracies” that took place in Washington DC, Sami Atallah, executive director of LCPS, presented how LCPS’ advocacy initiative led to municipal elections in Lebanon. Among the other chapters in the report were cases from successful think tanks in Argentina (Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America), Ecuador (Grupo FARO), Georgia (Caucasus Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development), Ghana (Ghana Center for Democratic Development), Romania (Romanian Academic Society), Slovakia (Institute for Public Affairs), South Korea (East Asia Institute), and Turkey (Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation).
In 1997, LCPS along with LADE and a hundred other associations including political parties, activists, and volunteers reversed a government decision to postpone yet again municipal elections which were last held in 1963. A national movement was created and 60,000 signatures across the country were collected in support of holding municipal elections. By June 1998, the government was compelled to hold municipal elections in 600 out of 708 municipalities, more than 1.2 million Lebanese voters had applied for election cards to exercise their constitutional right, and 10,000 municipal council members had joined the political class. Since then, municipal elections are held every six years in Lebanon. Overall, this campaign shows that by translating sound research into dynamic activism, real policy change can be achieved. Download the report.