Lebanon’s Elections Are a Pyrrhic Victory for the Corrupt Status Quo

Lebanon’s Elections Are a Pyrrhic Victory for the Corrupt Status Quo
A Lebanese woman casts her vote in parliamentary elections, in Beirut, Lebanon, May 15, 2022 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

Lebanon’s parliamentary elections produced some heartening news for critics of the political establishment, with protest candidates performing better than expected in Sunday’s polls. Initial results show that no fewer than 10 anti-establishment candidates won seats in parliament. This wouldn’t be enough to create a sizable counter-establishment bloc in the 128-seat parliament, but it would be enough to give a real platform to many dissenting views.

Hezbollah and its allies, which are collectively known as the March 8 bloc, lost ground, winning at least 61 seats, compared to 71 in the previous elections. Some of the candidates who won seats as independents will ally with either the March 8 bloc or its rival, the March 14 bloc. But it appears that neither side will control enough seats to select the speaker, setting the stage for the kind of drawn-out government formation negotiations that Lebanon is known for.

As a result, despite the noteworthy gains by opposition figures and other political outsiders in Sunday’s vote, the rotten status-quo bargain that has driven Lebanon to ruin is likely to continue. The worst predations imaginable have pushed a small, relatively prosperous country into a financial abyss. Yet the first elections after a hellish three-year period that featured a popular revolution, an economic depression of historical proportions, and the deadly Beirut port explosion evidently was not enough to dislodge the ruling clique of warlords, organized crime bosses and bankers.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article as well as three free articles per month. You'll also receive our free email newsletter to stay up to date on all our coverage:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having your own personal researcher and analyst for news and events around the globe. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of 15,000+ articles
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday
  • Weekly in-depth reports on important issues and countries
  • Daily links to must-read news, analysis, and opinion from top sources around the globe, curated by our keen-eyed team of editors
  • Your choice of weekly region-specific newsletters, delivered to your inbox.
  • Smartphone- and tablet-friendly website.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review