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Lebanese Democracy — Why Now?
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Lebanese Democracy

The BBC reports that Lebanon postpones vote yet again

The pro-West ruling bloc and pro-Syrian opposition have agreed on army chief Gen Michel Suleiman, but are divided on the make-up of the new government.

There is also said to be a dispute over how to amend the constitution to allow a senior civil servant to be elected.

The deadlock meant Emile Lahoud stepped down last month without a successor.

Under Article 49 of the current constitution, senior civil servants like Gen Suleiman are barred from becoming president within two years of stepping down.

Under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system, the country’s president must be from the Maronite Christian minority, while the prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim and the president of parliament a Shia.

Your religion determines what position you can be elected to in the government, but the people don’t get to elect you, the parliament does. the political parties are generally ethnic, rather than political, so compromise isn’t very likely. Not very democratic, but it beats a civil war.


1 Badtux { 12.11.07 at 6:52 pm }

Well, it’s certainly more democratic than the neighboring countries, where two of them (Jordan and Syria) don’t have meaningful elections at all, while one of them (Israel) disenfranchises the majority of its citizens by claiming that they voluntarily relinquished their citizenship in 1948 (“voluntarily”, that is, with a little help from armed gunmen going through their villages and threatening to kill them unless they got out of town ASAP, but hey, what’s a little terrorism between friends?). Lebanon certainly is no democratic paradise, but what country in that area of the world is? Closest I can think of is Turkey, and even there the military keeps a close and nervous eye upon the democratically elected government to make sure it doesn’t go against Attaturk’s dictate of no religion in government, whereas probably a majority of Turks would have no problem voting to make Turkey into an Islamic state.

2 Bryan { 12.11.07 at 10:24 pm }

It’s amazing how the Hedgemony talks about democracy and then does its absolute worst to alienate our most democratic friend in the area, Turkey, and most democratic opponent, Iran, while sucking up to a bunch of regimes that have their feet firmly planted in the feudal system.