Anti-Corruption & Transparency
Data Liberation Project II
Making raw data of the 2005 and 2009 Lebanese parliamentary elections available
Together with Ibrahim Jouhari, FNF Lebanon & Syria has digitized, edited, cleaned, and published the raw electoral data of the 2005 and 2009 Lebanese parliamentary elections, making it freely, openly, and publicly accessible, in a machine-readable format.
The Lebanese government, despite the recent promulgation of the access to data law, still hoards its data and complicates any access. Currently, only the 2018 parliamentary data is available on the MOI website, in PDF, while clicking on the 2009 data link leads to a 404 error. This is detrimental to the democratic development of the state and hampers the fight against corruption and fraud. Indeed, it has been academically proven that free and open access to public data has a direct impact on lowering corruption and waste. Moreover, access to data positively impacts research and academic, while increasing the participation and impact of civil society actors, especially youth and women, in the political arena.
Thus, following the 2018 Lebanese parliamentary elections, Ibrahim Jouhari launched and managed DLP I. With a group of talented data experts and analysts, he transformed the data from static PDF (with Arabic script) to Excel, then cleaned it, enriched it, and published it. The project was successful, and the demand for the data was widespread. The data is now freely available and has been included in the AUB data repository, for free access to the community. For more on the process, you can check the article on DLP I here.
After discussing the idea for a second batch of data analysis with us at FNF Lebanon & Syira, we expressed interest, and DLP II was launched, focusing on digitization of the 2009 and 2005 parliamentary electoral data. Unfortunately, digital (even PDF) copies of the two data sets are incomplete and filled with errors (for 2009), or totally missing (2005). Thus, we acquired the physical copies of the data set and used the talents of several hard-working data entry experts. In the next few weeks the data entry phase will be finalized and then with the help of data validation experts, database consultants, and a data manipulation advisor, we will start the next phase to complete the digitization of the raw data, validating it, and preparing the data for online publication and use. The team will also publish several reports, visual illustrations, and infographics highlighting possible trends (changes of turnout by gender and sect, over the three elections, for example) to showcase the results and possible research that could be extracted by having access to these data sets.