After nine years in which no national consultation on universal suffrage took place, on 6 May 2018, Lebanon held legislative elections.

Each voter is assigned to a registered religious community. Which community you are allocated to is hereditary and has nothing to do with your faith or lack of faith.

A new electoral law guaranteed the status quo: the number of MPs by religious community was fixed in advance. Similarly, the offices of the President of the Assembly and Prime Minister were also allocated in advance by religious community.

While it was the case that there was proportional representation, this took place in the context of a rigid framework of religious communities, and this blocked new political parties from actually being able to emerge.

No rule established the conditions of campaign-funding.

Throughout election day, political parties sponsored by Iran called the electors to vote. They also requested that the hours of the polling stations were extended. In contrast, political parties sponsored by Saudi Arabia are opposed to this.

The bottom line: less than half the voters cast their vote.

Anoosha Boralessa