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Political Representation

January 01, 2000
Lebanese Legislative Elections of Summer 2000

An electoral study conducted on the legislative elections of summer 2000 in the interest of discerning which democratic processes function to increase public participation and political representation. This study aids in assessing and understanding the process of democratic change in Lebanon in terms of public participation and perception of the role of elections, the openness of the current political system toward new political forces, and the social and political transformations that took place between 1996  and 2000.
Researchers conducted specialized studies using different methods such as analysis, documentation, interviews, field research, and the resulting papers were divided into two types: regional studies that highlighted the different aspects of the electoral process in specific electoral districts and sector or topical studies that analyzed the role of a specific aspect of the electoral process across the different electoral districts or a specific region. Several workshops for the researchers included sought to elaborate the theoretical and methodological approaches and provide a forum for discussing drafts of papers.
Regional studies highlighted the following aspects:
· Historical circumstances underlying the development of the dominant political forces in the electoral region under study
· Electoral campaigns and electoral machines running the campaigns
· Role of media and electoral advertisement
· Social divisions created by electoral competition
· Role of the political authority in the electoral process in terms of intervention or support of certain candidates
· The rate of participation and boycotting as compared with 1992 and 1996 elections
· Election results and their implications as compared with the elections of 1996
The large number of the electoral districts now in existence as a result of the new election law made it difficult to study each of these topics in every district. Instead, case studies were chosen taking into consideration the political and confessional configuration of each electoral district.
The topical studies covered the following aspects:
· Political, economic and social factors affecting electoral behavior
· Influence of culture, social standards and values in the electoral process
· Candidates' anthropological background: case studies
· Role of pressure groups and their influence on the electoral process
· Comparative analytical studies of campaigns with emphasis on the ideological and semiotic backgrounds and the access to media and financial resources
· The dialectical relationship of mutual influence between youth and the electoral process and the role of elections in social change

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