The National Democratic Institute (NDI) assembled a group of experts to form a virtual preelection assessment mission (V-PEAM) from February 7 to 18, 2022, to examine conditions for elections in Lebanon. The purpose was to assess the prevailing political environment and preparations for the upcoming 2022 elections and identify areas where change is possible to improve the integrity, transparency, and effectiveness of the elections. The delegation included technical and election experts from Canada, Georgia, and Jordan: Leslie Campbell, NDI Middle East and North Africa Regional Director; Ecaterine Siradze, Resident Director for NDI in Lebanon; Reem Abu Hassan, lawyer, human rights activist, and former Jordanian Minister of Social Development; and Grant Kippen, expert advisor in electoral and democratic development.
The team conducted its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, which establishes the basis for credible international election observation and was formulated and endorsed by 55 intergovernmental and international organizations, including the United Nations Secretariat. NDI’s assessment was conducted in light of constraints imposed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, which precluded deployment of international personnel to Lebanon. To complete its assessment, the delegation met virtually with political party representatives, past and future political candidates, international observation groups, Lebanon’s Supervisory Commission for Elections (SCE), political analysts and journalists. Despite many attempts to arrange meetings or to get official information about election preparations, the delegation was unable to interview anyone from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Municipalities (MOIM) or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lebanon MoFA. The delegation notes that the inaccessibility of the officials responsible for election preparations to election observers sets a negative precedent for further observation of Lebanon’s electoral processes.
All activities were conducted on a strictly nonpartisan basis and without interfering in the election process. The Institute recognizes that, ultimately, it will be the people of Lebanon who will determine the credibility of their elections and the country’s democracy. The delegation therefore offers this pre-election assessment in the spirit of supporting and strengthening democratic institutions, effective election practices, and accountability in Lebanon. The delegation is deeply grateful to all those who met with the delegation and generously shared their views. NDI stands ready to continue to assist Lebanon’s efforts to build and sustain democratic practices, institutions, and civil society