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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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5. The Doha Republic


This chapter offers a close examination of the Doha Agreement, giving illustrative abstracts of its clauses. The effect of the agreement on the power-sharing arrangement within Lebanon is analyzed in terms of the appointment of the president, formation of a national unity government, and the new electoral law. The collapse of the Doha Agreement in 2011 and the subsequent collapse of another convocational arrangement are also examined.

The Lebanese National Dialogue Conference

On May 5, 2008, the government of Lebanon passed two decisions, to shut down Hezbollah’s telecommunication networks and relieve General Wafik Shkair from his post as security chief at the Rafic al-Hariri International Airport because of alleged ties to Hezbollah. The decisions were deemed by Hezbollah and the National Opposition as acts of hostility against the resistance, causing massive riots that would eventually turn into an outright civil strife and armed clashes between factions.1 On May 13, 2008, the Lebanese Army intervened to defuse tensions and prevent further fighting. The intervention failed and the army withdrew, fearing splits within its own rank.2 An Arab diplomatic delegation traveled ←75 | 76→to Lebanon to arbitrate an end to the conflict, and a deal was reached between the reluctant pro-government factions and the opposition to negotiate and reverse the decisions that sparked the conflict. This was associated with an invitation to Qatar, by its prince Sheikh Hamad Al Thani for all factional leaders to meet in Doha. On May 15, 2008, a delegation of pro-government and opposition...

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