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January 18, 2021 | 51 Pages | English | Georgia Dagher
The 2018 Lebanese Parliamentary Elections:What Do the Numbers Say? Bekaa 2 Electoral District: West Bekaa-Rachaya

In the Lebanese parliamentary elections of 2018, the electoral race in the district of West Bekaa–Rachaya was highly contested, with the two winning lists—the first one formed by the Ittihad, Amal, and Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the second formed by the Future Movement (FM) and Progressive Socialist Party (PSP)—winning an equal share of votes. Each of the parties were highly successful in mobilizing their sectarian communities, with the Shia vote going mostly to Amal, the Druze vote to PSP, and the Sunni vote to FM and Ittihad, while the Christian groups’ vote was more fragmented. Although FPM was highly successful, a high share of Christian communities’ votes went to Christian candidates from other affiliations. In line with these preferences for sectarian parties, an overwhelming majority of voters in West Bekaa–Rachaya cast their preferential vote for a candidate from their same confession. While the majority of voters from each group voted along sectarian lines, variations were present, with Druze and Sunni voters being significantly more likely to cast a sectarian vote compared to others. A confessional bias was evident even among voters who chose an independent candidate running on the anti-establishment list. The Sunni candidates in that list won the highest share of their votes from Sunni voters, the Christian candidates from Christian voters, and the Shia candidate from Shia voters. Apart from candidates’ results, the performance of the independent list was affected by a number of geographical factors: Lower levels of sectarian homogeneity in a cadaster, higher levels of economic development, and lower poverty rates were all associated with a higher share of votes for the list. Moreover, the list also generally performed better in polling stations that had lower turnouts, suggesting a failure to mobilize high numbers of voters. Apart from these results, there was weak evidence of elections irregu­larities in West Bekaa–Rachaya. While certain methods of detecting signs of fraud point toward Ittihad and PSP, the results were inconclusive.

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