Lebanese parliamentary elections (1943-2018)

Mostly held in spring and summer

Article 42 of the Lebanese Constitution sets a timeframe for holding general parliamentary elections “within sixty days preceding the end of parliamentary term”. In addition to the controversy of electoral law, the 2022 election date seems problematic. At its session on Tuesday October 19, 2021, the Parliament passed a law setting Sunday March 27, 2022 as date for parliamentary elections, rationalizing that Ramadan 2022 will fall in April.

This has raised the following legal issue:

As the Parliament’s term expires on May 21, 2022, the elections are to be held between March 21 and May 21, 2022. The electoral bodies are called upon by a decree published in the Official Gazette and the period between the date of publication of this decree and the date of electoral bodies’ meeting is at least 90 days. Given that the President of Republic has the power to call for an election between March 21 and May 21, 2022, he is not bound to abide by the target date unless the Parliament’s mandate is shortened (in this case he shall call for an election to be held before March 30, 2022).

From 1943 until 2018 elections, Lebanon witnessed 15 parliamentary elections of which only one took place on March 24, 1968 and the term of office ended on May 04. At that time, the elections came as a result of political stalemate and the division between “the Shehabs” and “the Tripartite Alliance” in preparation for presidential elections. These circumstances appear to be similar to current conditions, and Ramadan is merely a pretext.

If only one election was conducted in March, the majority took place between May and June and the closest to March were the parliamentary elections that were held starting on April 16, as shown in the following table.

A table showing the dates of parliamentary elections (1943-2018).

Source: Information International, based on the decrees published in the Official Gazette to call upon the electoral bodies to stage elections.