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Lebanon's Political Alternatives

Nadim El Kak,
Sami Atallah

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In the last few years, Lebanon witnessed an increase in the number of political groups that seek to challenge the establishment. Yet, little is known about their political structure, policy positions and how they compare to one another. Based on original survey data, this study unpacks differences in the internal organizational structures, policy stances, strategies for political change, and alliances of fifteen of the most prominent alternative political groups. The study finds that groups have contrasting leadership structures and uneven checks and balances on power. They also have varying stances on the best strategy to bring about political change, though they generally agree that their struggle against the regime ought to take place across multiple arenas of confrontation, one of which is the upcoming 2022 parliamentary election. On the programmatic front, most groups have progressive stances on social policies, but they differ on economic issues. Specifically, some prefer market-led solutions to the crisis, which lean towards preserving financial sector interests, while others favor more redistributive policy prescriptions that lay a majority of the costs on banks and large depositors. As for their alliances, groups are split between those adopting principled and policy-based criteria to form their lists, in contrast to the more pragmatic approaches of those willing to ally with contentious actors like the Kataeb Party

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