1. World Democracies and Lebanese Consociationalism
This chapter examines different political systems around the world and introduces the particular form of governance established in Lebanon. Various ideological, federal, and consociational democracies are examined; in turn, case studies are presented to better inform debate. Lebanon’s consociational power-sharing form of government is explored through the social foundations that shape the political institutions of the country.
Politics of Democratic Systems
Of approximately 200 countries in the world, 82 are considered fully or partially democratic. Most of them share social and political practices and traditions, yet their governments and political systems vary. In general, the variation stems from their social dynamics, which are framed either by ideological, regional, or communal politics. Ideological politics play a central role in the establishment of representative governments based on majoritarian principles. Regional-and communal-based politics, on the other hand, give rise to governments that are based on loose, decentralized power structures capable of accommodating the diverse interests of social groups in the country. Thus, each form of democracy ←3 | 4→is largely determined by the way in which the government and society are intertwined.
In an ideological democracy, the population is typically cohesive in its ethnic, racial, religious, linguistic, historic, and geographic makeup. Political quarrels are mainly centered on economic and social policies, the role of the private versus public sectors in the economy, security strategies, and freedoms. Politics is played out by different political actors, with groups and parties competing to gain the support...
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