The Ray Hanania Radio Show-Arab News

The meaning of Lebanon’s elections with ATFL VP Jean AbiNader May 18, 2022  S2 E7

May 18, 2022

The meaning of Lebanon's elections with ATFL VP Jean AbiNader

May 18, 2022  S2 E7

Today we are going to look at the recent elections in Lebanon ... It has been a tumultuous two years for Lebanon ... the explosion of August 4, 2020 which took 218 lives, injured 7,000 people and left 300,000 homeless. Then there was the economic crisis that followed, and the uncertain and continued political turmoil ... all this has pushed Lebanon into gridlock, a nation that continues to be governed by a sectarian or Confessional division of political office.

The head of state is the president, who is elected by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly for a term of six years and is eligible to serve consecutive terms. By an unwritten convention, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the premier a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of the National Assembly a Shi'iMuslim. The president, in consultation with the speaker of the National Assembly and the parliamentary deputies, invites a Sunni Muslim to form a cabinet, and the cabinet members’ portfolios are organized to reflect the sectarian balance. The cabinet, which holds more executive power than the president, requires a vote of confidence from the Assembly in order to remain in power. 

With us to help us understand all of this is Jean AbiNader, the Vice President for Policy at the American Task Force on Lebanon. He has decades of experience in public affairs/advocacy, international marketing, education and training, and project management in the Arab world. He regularly contributes analysis in a weekly blog hosted by ATFL on current events in Lebanon and the region.

AbiNader can help us understand the election results this past week and the impact of the elections in the context of the explosion, the economic and political turmoil, and the complex confessional government division.

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AbiNader has been working internationally since he finished his post-graduate education in intercultural affairs and eventually had assignments in 40 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa at the intersection of international marketing, organizational change, cross-cultural communications, and workforce development.

As Vice President of the American Task Force on Lebanon, he oversees the communications team, producing blogs, position papers, press statements, information materials, and policy studies related to US-Lebanon political, economic, and security issues.

He consults on strategic communications and organizational change for both international and US clients; has led a graduate level seminar at Georgetown University; lectures at American University on international development and challenges in intercultural negotiations; and a leads a seminar on effective negotiations at Al-Akhawayn University in Morocco. His blogs can be found on and his website:


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