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How Did the Lebanese Diaspora Vote in the 2022 Parliamentary Elections?

Georgia Dagher

The 2022 Lebanese parliamentary elections saw increased mobilization from Lebanese citizens abroad, who constituted 6% of the electorate, three times as much as they did in 2018. Not only did registration numbers increase, but their turnout was also higher than in 2018.

While in 2018, the diaspora’s votes did not have an impact on the overall results, higher participation in 2022 contributed to the election of seven candidates. The voting behavior of the diaspora was significantly different from that of in-country voters, and much more so than in 2018. For instance, anti-establishment candidates and parties performed much better with the diaspora than with in-country voters. In addition, while some traditional parties (notably the Lebanese Forces and Hezbollah) generally maintained the same level of support in the diaspora between 2018 and 2022, other parties like the Free Patriotic Movement, Amal, or Tashnag, saw a massive drop in their support abroad.

This switch in political preferences suggests an increased mobilization in the diaspora for political change in Lebanon. While registrants abroad include long-time emigrants, a large part of them are Lebanese who left the country in recent years. As these Lebanese were pushed to leave since the onset of the financial crisis in 2019 and the Beirut blast on 4 August 2020—which all segments of the ruling political class were responsible for—a large share of them, as could have been expected, voted in favor of anti-establishment candidates.

This study provides an in-depth analysis of the Lebanese diaspora’s voting behavior in the 2022 election. The analysis is founded on a comparison between the results in Lebanon and those abroad, and a comparison between the diaspora votes in 2018 and those in 2022.

The first section focuses on the results at the national level. While in the aggregate, these are already quite telling, a granular analysis is essential as Lebanese in the diaspora are not one unified bloc of voters. Indeed, the confessional configuration, age, and districts of origin of Lebanese emigrants vary, and so do their political preferences. In the second section, we therefore zoom in on seven countries where the largest numbers of diaspora members registered to vote: France, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. Finally, in the third section, we provide a district-level analysis and highlight those in which Lebanese abroad had a determining role in who was elected to parliament. We find that the diaspora vote was determinant for at least seven seats, including five won by anti-establishment candidates.

Our study relies on the official election results disaggregated by polling stations, as well as the official voters’ lists obtained from the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities.1 Both datasets were classified according to country and district in order to calculate preferences for political parties and turnout. The results at the polling station level specify the location of the polling station, such as country and district, the total number of votes cast in each polling station, and the number of votes for each electoral list and candidate. This data enabled us to calculate preferences for political parties. In order to calculate turnout, we merged this dataset with the voters’ lists, which specify the country each voter was registered in.

This paper is published in partnership with Arab Reform Initiative. For the full PDF, please click here.

1. The results at the polling station level are available at: The voters’ lists are not publicly available and were requested from the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities by The Policy Initiative.

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