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May 29, 2019 | English | Nizar Hassan
Analysis of Platforms in Lebanon's 2018 Parliamentary Election

Prior to the May 2018 Lebanese Parliamentary Election, a majority of political parties and emerging political groups2 launched electoral platforms outlining their political and socioeconomic goals and means by which to achieve them. These platforms most often comprised documents—which ranged in length from two to 70 pages—and addressed issues such as economic policy and administrative reform as well as defense and foreign policy. Some platforms, while short on words, contained photos and graphics. Others were accessible via an online portal or were announced during speeches by party officials.
This paper analyzes these platforms along three tiers: Scope, depth, and emphasis. Scope entails the number of policy matters covered in a given platform, depth covers the details of a platform and how a party planned to achieve its policy goals, and emphasis concerns the policy areas on which a given party most heavily focused. This report examines nine electoral platforms, six of which were released by established parties3—the Amal Movement, Free Patriotic Movement, Future Movement, Hezbollah, Kataeb, and Lebanese Forces—and the three by the emerging groups LiBaladi, LiHaqqi, and Sabaa.
Apart from Kataeb’s electoral platform, the platforms of established political parties were thin in terms of scope and depth in comparison to emerging groups. They covered fewer policy issues and failed to elaborate on how to achieve them. The new political groups and Kataeb developed more comprehensive platforms covering a variety of policy issues. In terms of emphasis, established parties and emerging groups both focused on improving public services. However, emerging groups made social issues such as civil liberties, gender equality, and drug policy their second-highest priority while established parties highlighted political and administrative reform.
This paper comprises three sections. The first presents the methodology and results of an analysis of platforms’ scopes, presents data for each group individually, and compares trends among established parties and emerging groups. The second section focuses on depth by analyzing platforms’ levels of detail and commitment to specific policies. Finally, section three analyzes each party's or group's focus in terms of policy categories and examines the similarities and distinctions between established parties and emerging groups. The paper concludes by presenting a list of specific policies which appear in the platforms of each party or group that is represented in the government formed in 2019.

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