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Entering the Lion’s Den: Lebanon’s “Change MPs” in parliament

Nadim El Kak

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Building on prior TPI research about alternative political groups in Lebanon, this report examines challenges that “Change MPs” faced during their first 18 months in office. Drawing on eight original interviews with Change MPs, the report is divided into four sections that examine their legislative performance, oversight duties, parliamentary alliances, and political outlooks. It also examines how sectarian parties have paralyzed the parliament to protect their interests – from avoiding accountability and delaying reforms to sabotaging legislation and bullying opponents – by recounting specific legislative battles waged by Change MPs. Moreover, the report shows how parliamentarians who attempt to engage in oversight have been systematically ignored, dismissed, or attacked, leading them to rely on non-traditional oversight tools such as cultivating relationships with low-level public employees or exerting pressure on ministries through the media. Lastly, the study examines the different strategic approaches and ideological dispositions of Change MPs, revealing organizational tensions between “pragmatic” and “principled” members of the nascent opposition bloc, which have thus far prevented the formation of a robust opposition front with a clear programmatic agenda. 

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