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The Government and Politics of Lebanon

Second Edition

Imad Salamey

The Government and Politics of Lebanon, Second Edition describes the special attributes of Lebanese politics and the functions of its confessional state. It aims to contribute to the reader’s understanding of contemporary Lebanese politics, consensus building, and government. It stimulates discussion concerning the nature of consociationalism as a power sharing arrangement for a divided society. The book captures the complexity of Lebanese politics by revealing the challenges embedded in the management of plurality, including institutional paralysis and system stagnations. The second edition features new and expanded chapters that pay particular attention to state’s adaptations to post-Arab Spring politics. It expands the analysis on the performance of the Lebanese consociational state in light of turbulent regional environment and the various repercussions associated with regional conflict. It is divided into several parts. The first introduces the particular form and foundations of Lebanese consociationalism and provides an elaborate description of its special features. The second part explains the different rules of the game as institutionalized in the country’s international and domestic power sharing arrangements. It describes the international politics of Lebanon and the influence exerted by regional powers in shaping its domestic affairs. It explains the manifestation of domestic parties and electoral systems in the power distribution among the country’s different sectarian and ethnic groups. It analyzes the political economy of communitarian politics. The third part focuses on the contemporary powers and functions of the different branches of government as well as their institutional expression of sectarian interests. The fourth part of the book places Lebanese consociationalism in light of contemporary regional turmoil and describes state’s responsiveness in mitigating and managing conflicts, particularly those associated with the spillover from the Syrian conflict.
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3. The National Pact Republic

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This chapter discusses Lebanon’s struggle for independence and the resultant National Pact of 1943. The pact is examined in detail to illustrate Lebanon’s unique power-sharing formula. The impacts of demographic changes and Palestinian issues on the country’s sectarian relations are explored, demonstrating the recurring sectarian crisis within the Lebanese consociational model. The context of Lebanese sectarian contentions and the resulting governance crisis throughout the National Pact Republic are elaborated. The 1958 civil strife is analyzed in detail. Regional power shifts in the postcolonial order, demographic changes, and the rise of Palestinian power are among the main causes of the 1975 Lebanese Civil War.

The Struggle for Independence

At the height of World War II, France, under the Vichy government that assumed power in 1940, was occupied by Germany. General Henri-Fernand Dentz was appointed as the new High Commissioner of Lebanon. During the War, the Vichy authorities authorized the Germany army to transfer military supplies across its mandated territories for use against British forces. Britain retaliated by ←35 | 36→dispatching troops into Lebanon and Syria to confront German advances. But hostilities were soon ended. On July 14, 1941, an armistice agreement was signed.

Under political pressures from both within the country and outside, on November 26, 1941, Lebanon’s independence was recognized under the authority of the new Free French government led by General Charles de Gaulle. Major powers recognized Lebanon’s independence, exchanging ambassadors. Nevertheless, and despite international recognition, France continued to exercise Mandate power.

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