Divided We Fall:
Bringing Together the Lebanese Opposition Movement
In recent years, Lebanese opposition movements have failed to successfully compete with the country’s establishment, sectarian parties. Opposition figures and leaders featured prominently in large-scale protests, offering a non-sectarian alternative. The frustrated crowds seemed impressed, yet – when opposition parties ran in the 2018 elections – they won just one parliamentary seat.
To be sure, opposition parties face intimidating, systemic obstacles when competing in Lebanese elections. Nevertheless, Lebanese opposition groups must shoulder blame for failing to form effective, unified coalitions ahead of parliamentary elections. Confronted with splintered opposition parties, voters have struggled to understand what an opposition government would look like, and what policies it would advocate for. As Lebanon approaches another round of parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 2022, opposition parties face old threats and new opportunities. Yet the opposition movement will almost certainly spurn these emerging openings without forming an effective coalition for the upcoming elections.
If the 2022 elections do proceed, the political stakes will be incredibly high. Form a united coalition, and Lebanese opposition groups stand some chance of gaining a potentially invaluable foothold in Parliament. Remain divided, and the country’s establishment political parties will almost certainly sweep the elections yet again, collecting thoroughly undeserved political legitimacy along the way.