Lebanon: The Legacy of Sectarian Consociationalism and the Transition to a Fully-Fledged Democracy | Ifi Working Paper
Working Paper | March 2013
Lebanon: The Legacy of Sectarian Consociationalism and the Transition to a Fully-Fledged Democracy by Samir Makdisi and Youssef El-Khalil
Since independence in 1943 Lebanon’s political system has been based on a power sharing arrangement among its religious communities. Referred to as a consociational democracy, it was embedded in an unwritten national pact by the leaders of the independence movement which specified the division of parliamentary seats among the Christian and Muslim communities on the basis of a six to five ratio in favor of the Christian community.3 And while it also specified equal representation in cabinet posts and in appointments to major positions in the public sector, (with equal shares being assigned to the three major religious groups) the pact gave the Maronite community specific political privileges.4 In practice veto power by either of the two communities concerning approval of decisions on fundamental questions (e.g., declaration of war, international agreements, the electoral law, citizenship, and added later, administrative decentralization laws) was provided for by the requirement that such approval was subject to a majority vote of two thirds.