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Is Lebanon a democracy?

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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 11:18 PM
Original message
Is Lebanon a democracy?
I keep hearing repeated that Lebanon is a democracy but is it really?

I think I remember reading about some wording in their Constitution that prohibits the person who gets the most votes and may be the most qualified person for the job from becoming Prime Minister if that person happens to be a Muslim.

Regardless of the election outcome the PM has to be a Christian. Even though Christians are in the minority in Lebanon.

Is that true? Do I have this wrong? Does anyone know?

Don
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Wonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Unwritten agreement, according to this source
http://www.irinnews.org/S_report.asp?ReportID=51263&Sel...

Year in Review 2005 - Developments in democracy

(snip)

There is also an unwritten agreement that Lebanons president has to be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of Parliament a Shiite Muslim.

(more at the link)
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NNN0LHI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 11:32 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thank you for the clarification Wonk. Much appreciated n/t
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 11:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. Okay.... what you need is a little context with this
This system was set up as a reconciliation system after years of civil war, Israeli invasion, occupation of the south, and finally, Israeli pullout from the south (and now limited re-invasion but that's now, not when the system was created). It was a bargain with the key ethnic/ religious groups to keep the hard-won peace by preventing any one group from simply walking over the others. This includes the Shiites, and therefore, the system makes it hard for the Christian and Sunni factions to move the official government towards civil war by seeking to crush Hezbollah on Israel's behalf. (Totally besides the army including a lot of Shiites and the rest being largely pro-Syria including the command structure)

Myself, I wouldn't be quick to call Israel's coalition politics a great improvement over this system. But, Israel is a much more politically stable country (which IMHO is saying something (bad) about Lebanon's political stability)

Judged by the standard of keeping the Lebanese from killing each other nonstop, the agreement was going fairly well until Hezbollah's attack on Israel lately. Judged by the standard of serving Israel's national interests, maybe their killing each other is better for Israel... but Israel didn't get a vote when the war-weary Lebanese patched this thing together, which was before that big assassination last year, of course.
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-18-06 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. An interest comment earlier
cannot remember by whom, that explains the recent election results in both Lebanon and Palestine:

Voters had a choice between the ruling elites and the military Islamists and unless they belong to the ruling class, they chose the Islamists.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-18-06 12:00 AM
Response to Original message
4. It's a very fragile, weak republic
Edited on Tue Jul-18-06 12:03 AM by Selatius
There are agreements in place that would prevent the militias from re-arming and waging war against each other. You cited one of them. Because the peace in Lebanon has always been precarious, Israel's bombing of Lebanon could have the unfortunate blow back of sending the rest of Lebanon back into civil war. This time, it could be not over the make-up of the Lebanese Parliament with respect to Muslims and Christians but over whether Hezbollah should disarm or be allowed to keep its weapons.

If it comes to that, it is possible that several Shi'ite militias will side with Hezbollah against Christian militias and possibly Sunni militias that want Hezbollah to disarm.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-18-06 01:49 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. And the Syrian army was keeping Hezbollah in line
They were removed by the current government, with the effect that Hezbollah now has the option of getting out of hand.
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-18-06 10:18 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Well in all fairness Syria ensured Hezbollah stayed an irritant too
Granted, Iran was supplying Hezbollah anyway, and Syria only had so much control, but this was a case of, well, managed chaos, both in terms of ensuring that it is not too chaotic, but also, that it is not insufficiently chaotic that Israel starts looking at Syria like it's ready for regime change.

Hezbollah is like a mafia whose business is Jihad. No Jihad is bad for business. So they took a good opportunity to revive it. I don't think that means Israel needs to stoop to their level, but who cares what I think...
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-18-06 10:32 AM
Response to Original message
8. The main destablizer is differences in birthrates.
Edited on Tue Jul-18-06 10:32 AM by Odin2005
Muslim Lebanese have a higher birthrate then the Christians. Christians used to be the majority, but kept thier political dominance when the majority became Muslim. This, IIRC, is what triggered the civil war.
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