The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched in Cairo its first trilingual—Arabic, English and French—Lexicon of Electoral Terminology. With close to 500 entries, the lexicon provides clear and accurate explanations of key concepts and terms in the field of elections. The Lexicon documents the most widely accepted electoral terms in Arabic accounting for regional language variations in the eight participating countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen.Electoral practices and experience vary widely across the Arabic-speaking world and different terms are used in different countries to refer to the same roles or activities in the electoral process. The Lexicon is a first effort to bridge that gap.
The Lexicon is the product of a cooperative undertaking by UNDP’s Regional Election Project of the Regional Bureau of Arab States and Strengthening of the Democratic Process in Egypt project. The lexicon has benefited from the financial support of the Swedish International Development agency. Over 100 elections experts, practitioners and members of electoral commissions have participated in creating the Lexicon.
“This lexicon will help reduce the ‘democratic rift’ by helping to harmonise Arabic electoral lexicology,” noted Dr Chafic Sarsar, President of the Tunisian Independent Electoral Commission (ISIE).
Definitions in the Lexicon were sourced from well-known electoral databases and reflect international practices and standards. The project built on a number of Arabic glossaries and sources such as UN Term in an effort to provide the most accepted Arabic language use in a field that is at times very technical and remains relatively new in the region. In order to achieve the highest level of accuracy, the draft was systematically reviewed by election practitioners in each of the eight countries who provided input on their understanding of the terms and definitions as well as local language variations. The draft was further reviewed, discussed and debated in workshops with election experts and authorities in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia.
21 November 2014