Politics of Lebanon
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Politics of Lebanon
Politics of Lebanon
• Lebanon, officially the Lebanese Republic, is a parliamentary democratic republic within the general structure of confessionalism, a type of consociationalism where the most
supreme offices are regularly set aside for representatives from specific religious communities.
• The constitution gives the people the right to change their government.
• Nonetheless, from the mid-1970s until the 1992 parliamentary elections, civil war prevented the exercise of political rights.
• Direct elections, in accordance with the constitution, have to be held for the parliament every four years; the last parliamentary election took place in 2009.
• In turn, the Parliament elects a President every six years to one term (the President is ineligible for re-election); the last presidential election took place in 2008.
• The PM is chosen by the president and parliament.
• Political parties may exist; most of them are based on religious interests.
• Between the time of the second Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) and 2005, when the Lebanese rebelled against the presence of Syrian troops with backing from the international
community, Syria was responsible for disentangling the participants and restoring peace.
• In 1978, Israel occupied parts of Lebanon, then pulled out in 2000, even though Israeli forces still occupy Shebaa Farms, an area disputed among Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.
• Lebanese politics underwent a new twist in 2008 when the Doha agreement created a new trend in which the opposition may veto in the Lebanese Council of Ministers and
confirmed religious Confessionalism in the spreading of political power.
Major Government figures
Major Government figures
• Government Unitary confessionalist parliamentary republic
• Acting President Tammam Salam
• Prime Minister Tammam Salam
• Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri
• Legislature Chamber of Deputies
Chamber of Deputies
Political Map of Lebanon
Main office holders
• Office: Acting President
• Name: Tammam Salam
• Party: None
• Since: 25 May 2013
• Office: Prime Minister
• Name: Tammam Salam
• Party: None
• Since: 15 February 2014
• The Parliament elects the President for a six-year term.
• The President cannot be re-elected; instead, he may run again in the next election.
• The President nominates the PM and the Deputy PM in consultation with the Parliament; the
President has to be a Maronite, the PM a Sunni, and the Speaker of Parliament a Shi’a.
• The confessional system is taken from a 1932 census showing the Maronite Christians with a
significant majority of Lebanon’s population.
• As of 2014, the Government of Lebanon still does not issue a new census.
• The national legislature of Lebanon is called the House of Representatives (Arabic: Majlis al-
• The Parliament has been a 128-seat body since the 1992 elections (the first elections since
the reforms of the 1989 Taif Agreement withdrew the built-in majority formerly enjoyed by
Christians, giving the seats equally between Christians and Muslims).
• The term, once four years, has been extended to five.
• While parliament seats are confessionally distributed, they are elected by universal
• Every religious community has a selected number of Parliament seats, but they do not only
represent their co-religionists, as all candidates in a specific electorate, no matter what
their religious affiliation, must gather a plurality of the total vote, including followers of all
• This system was created to reduce inter-sectarian competition and exploit cross-confessional
cooperation: while candidates only face opposition from co-religionists, they must request
support from outside of their own faith to be elected.
• The opposition faction Qornet Shehwan Gathering, a group that opposes the former pro-
Syrian régime, has asserted that electorate boundaries have been created in order to permit
several Shi’a Muslims to be elected from Shi’a-dominated electorates that are strongholds for
the Hezbollah Party, while assigning several Christian members to mostly Muslim electorates,
which force Christian politicians to represent Muslim interests (in the 1950’s, similar
accusations, but in reverse, were made against the Chamoun Administration).
Assembly of Representatives
Political parties and elections
• Lebanon has a number of political parties, even though they play a far less important role in Lebanese politics than they do in most parliamentary democracies.
• Many of the “parties” are simply lists of candidates supported by an important national or local figure.
• Loose coalitions, generally organized locally, are formed for electoral purposes through negotiation among clan leaders and nominees that represent religious communities; these
coalitions normally exist for the election only, and seldom form a consistent block in the Parliament after the election.
• No one party has ever gained more than 12.5 percent of the seats in the Parliament, and no coalition of parties has ever gathered more than 35 percent.
• Particularly outside of the major cities, elections often focus more on local than on national issues; it is not uncommon for a party to join an electoral ticket in one electorate
while aligned with a competing party- even an ideologically opposite party- in another electorate.
Results of the 7 June 2009 general election
• Blue: March 14 majority
• Orange: March 8 majority
• The judicial branch consists of the following:
• Four Courts of Cassation (three courts for civil and commercial cases and one court for criminal cases).
• The Constitutional Council (called for in the Ta’if Accord) governs on constitutionality of laws.
• The Supreme Court, as needed, listens to accusations made against the President and the PM.
• A system of military courts that additionally exercises power over citizens for the crimes of spying, treason, and other crimes that are considered to be
• Lebanon is divided into six governorates (muhafazat, singular –
muhafazah): Beirut, Mount Lebanon, North, Beqaa, South, Nabatiye.
Lebanon in the news
• 1999 conflict Farid Abboud discusses rebuilding following Israeli attacks.
• June 1999 Lebanon will battle corruption by "Authority of Law”.
• 2002 Fighting along disputed Israel-Lebanon border.
• 2002 Lebanese post-reconstruction attempts.
• 2005 Former Lebanese PM Rafic Hariri is assassinated.
• Born 13 May 1945 in Beirut.
• PM (and acting President) of Lebanon since 15 February 2014, having been elected the same day.
• Previously served in the Lebanese government as Minister of Culture from 2008-2009.
• Was assigned the task of forming a new government on 6 April 2013.
• Was one of the new Sunni politicians.
• Close to the March 14 Alliance and still has close relations to the March 8 Alliance.
• Born into a prominent Sunni family; comes from a politically powerful family.
• Oldest son of Saeb Salam, who occupied the office many times since Lebanon’s independence.
• His mother, Tamima Mardam Beik, is of Syrian origin, and is from Damascus.
• His grandfather, Salim Ali Salam, was one of the Lebanese officials who served during two eras: the
Ottoman era and the French era; more specifically served as a Beirut deputy in the Ottoman parliament,
and was additionally the head of the Beirut municipality.
• Has two older sisters and two younger brothers.
• Graduate of Broummana High School and Haigazian University in Beirut; also has a degree in economics
and management that he obtained in England.
• Born 28 January 1938 in Bo, Sierra Leone.
• Speaker of the Parliament of London since 20 October 1992; also heads the Amal Movement.
• Born to Lebanese parents.
• Went to school in Tebnine and Ain Ebel in southern Lebanon; continued his education in Bint Jbeil and Jaafariya
supplementary schools in southern Lebanon, and subsequently studied at the Makassed and the Ecole de la Sagesse in Beirut.
• Also graduated at the top of his class with a Law degree from the Lebanese University in 1963, serving there as the student
body president; became a lawyer at the Court of Appeals.
• Also graduated from Paris-Sorbonne University in France.
• Was elected as President of the National Union of Lebanese Students in 1963; took part in student and political conferences.
• Became a lawyer at the Court of Appeals during his early career.
• Worked as a lawyer for a number of companies in Beirut in the 1970s.
• Was elected leader of the Amal Movement in 1980 and led the resistance against the Israeli occupation of Lebanon; remains
president to this day because the general conferences of the Amal Movement re-elected him every time as head of the
• Was the key player of the Intifada of 6 February 1984 against the sectarian régime, a revolt that led to the Taif Agreement
between the parties of Lebanon.
• Also joined the National Unity government as minister of state for South Lebanon and reconstruction under PM Rashid Karami
in May 1984.
• Additionally served as the minister of housing and co-operatives.
The End ()النهاية