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After years of political deadlock, Lebanon’s struggling democratic institutions have managed to overcome sectarian divisions to adopt a long-awaited electoral law conduct long-overdue parliamentary elections in May 2018. This progress was made in the midst of considerable economic and political challenges – since the end of the civil war, the country has seen periods of violence compounded by challenges arising from the Syrian conflict, including the recent influx of more refugees per capita than any other country. Endemic corruption, national debt, and failing infrastructure are driving a new generation of candidates and voters to participate in the political process.
In 1995, NDI responded to requests to launch citizen-driven efforts to monitor and support Lebanon’s nascent democratic institutions. The Institute helped establish the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE), now a preeminent election observation organization. NDI has also helped Lebanese actors consider public opinion to develop more issue-oriented policies and bolster advocacy skills of civic groups fighting for better service provision. Ahead of the May 2018 parliamentary elections, NDI worked with political parties and independent movements to respond to voter expectations as they prepared to campaign, and partnered with the Lebanese Transparency Association (LTA) to monitor campaign finance. NDI fielded a pre-election assessment mission in March 2018 and an International Election Observation Mission for the parliamentary election in May. Post-election, the Institute has focused on promoting youth participation in political life, most recently through a series of televised youth debates on current issues conducted in partnership with the television network, MTV.
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NDI's work upholds the idea that democracy is a human right – a principle enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But it's a human right that many around the world still struggle to attain. You can be part of the solution. Join the movement for democracy.