The Lebanese Government and Politics

Established in 1943, the great republic of Lebanon takes pride in being a parliamentary democratic country. Hence, The Lebanese political system is mainly and officially built on the principles of separation, balance, and co-operation amongst the powers and sectors.

Furthermore, all significant policies along with political and administrative functions are drawn along the clear lines of the population’s percentage belonging to the different religious sectors and communities. 

The Constitutional framework 

Today, Lebanon’s governance is defined as a unitary multiparty republic working under the quota of a parliamentary system. The Lebanese constitution provides an outline for a national assembly. This assembly is, under usual circumstances, is elected for a term of four years via the universal adult suffrage of Lebanese citizens.  

Moreover, According to the official and known Ṭāʾif Accord, parliamentary seats are divided equally between the Christian and Muslim populations. Thus, the ratio of parliament seats in modern Lebanon reflects the citizen’s opinions, desires, and beliefs. Furthermore, the public office is responsible to observe and ensure this distribution.  

The Presidency Rank  

In Lebanon, the president is not only the head of the state, but the nation also considers him as the state’s symbol of unity. Every six years, the parliament elects him through a thorough procedure. Moreover, no president is eligible for re-election until the passing of a six-month duration from the end of his first term.

Furthermore, the Taif agreement along with the Lebanese constitution demands that the president have to be a Maronite Christian. The reason behind that policy is that during 1932 Maronite Christians made up a substantial majority of the population. Thus, the position is meant as a way to balance power among the country’s various sects. 

The president’s main task is to ensure that the country follows the constitution rules all while preserving Lebanon’s ultimate independence and territorial integrity. He also acts as the commander-in-chief of the Lebanese Armed Forces. Moreover, he is responsible for nominating the official prime minister after finishing the negotiation with the speaker of the parliament.  

Currently, this position is occupied by Michel Aoun, who got elected previously on 31 October 2016.  

The Executive Rank 

The Council of Ministers is the one responsible for holding executive power. This power allows them to draft general policy. They are also tasked with overseeing the policy’s execution in accordance with the effective laws.  

Moreover, the president is the one with the power to appoint the prime minister who is considered the head of the Council. Furthermore, as per the constitution, the president chooses a Sunni Muslim prime minister.  

Then after the parliamentary consultations, the Council of Ministers is formed in agreement with the president. 

The Legislative system  

The Assembly of Representatives is the holder of Legislative power in Lebanon. Though the 128 parliamentary seats are confessionally divided, members are elected via the typical universal suffrage for a four-year term. Furthermore, each religious sector has the right to an allotted number of seats. However, even despite religious privileges, all candidates in a particular constituency must win by a clear plurality of the total vote. 

Every term, the parliament appoints one of its members as speakers via an election. The speaker must be a Shia Muslim and have the right to be renewed in the next term with no complications.  

The Justice system 

Lebanon’s justice system mostly mirrors french concepts, policies, and ideologies.  Thus, The judiciary is divided between courts of the first instance, courts of appeal, and courts of cassation along with a Court of Justice specialized in handling cases affecting state and national security. Furthermore, the court of the Council of State handles the deals concerning overall administrative affairs.  

On the other hand, Lebanon has no official civil code that handles personal status matters. Therefore, every single one of the religious communities operates under their own laws and tribunals for affairs such as marriage, dowry, annulment of marriage, divorce, adoption, or inheritance. However, these policies are law binding even despite the notion of the individuals’ own practicing or true beliefs. Hence,  Without registering with a religious community, Lebanese citizens have no true legal existence.  

In addition, each of the mentioned judicial courts is the only one with substantial judicial power. Therefore, Magistrates are formally independent of the ministry and the president in the exercise of their functions. In a way, Their decisions and judgments are the collective voice of the Lebanese citizens.  

However, in spite of the country’s well-developed, modern, and thorough legal system, significant numbers of disputes and issues are resolved outside of legal courts. Thus, many take matters into their own hands and the vendetta mentality prevails in the country. 

The Lebanese Local Government 

Officially, the Republic of Lebanon is divided into six muhafazat which is some kind of province and electoral districts. The official muhafazat include Beirut , North Lebanon,  Mount Lebanon, Beqaa, South Lebanon, and Nabatieh.  

Moreover, each of the muhafazat is subdivided into 25 qadas or districts. Thus, Local communities can exist in forms of cities consisting of half a million inhabitants to villages with only 300 inhabitants.  

Furthermore, the political system is still a combination of secular and traditional systems. Lebanese political parties, parliamentary blocs, as well as pressure groups more often than not reflect parochial, communal, and personal loyalties instead of the country’s best interest. Hence, these principles are failing the Lebanese community. On the other hand, the Ṭāʾif pact upholds the peace between the different religious sectors. 

References:  

 BBC News. (2018, April 25). Lebanon profile. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-14649284Good, R. (2020, April 30). Lebanese government “treats the population with disdain.” Euronews. https://www.euronews.com/2020/04/30/lebanese-government-treats-population-with-disdainGovernance & Politics of Lebanon – Chronicle. (2020, July 13). Fanack.Com. https://fanack.com/lebanon/governance-and-politcs-of-lebanon/Lebanon – Government and society. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/place/Lebanon/Government-and-societyTHE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT’S REFORM PROGRAM. (n.d.). THE LEBANESE GOVERNMENT’S REFORM PROGRAM. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from https://www.almodon.com/file/Get/1a8c04de-9dc8-4804-88e6-6ea153f90527 

Lebanese Government Caught in ‘Vicious Circle.’ (n.d.). Asharq AL-Awsat. Retrieved July 19, 2020, from https://english.aawsat.com//home/article/2237021/lebanese-government-caught-%e2%80%98vicious-circle%e2%80%99