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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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11. Lebanese Legislative Branch


This chapter provides an informative account on the Assembly of Representatives, the speaker and overall legislative administration, distinguishing between the specialized committees. The Parliament’s functions are discussed in the context of power division and sectarian consociational politics.

National Assembly of Representatives

Lebanon’s national legislature is called the National Assembly of Representatives or the Chamber of Deputies (Majlis al-Nuwab in Arabic) and is commonly referred to as the Parliament. It was originally established as a bicameral legislative body during the French Mandate but evolved into a unicameral assembly. It has changed its composition and structure several times. Since 1992, and following the stipulation of the Taef Agreement, its members became evenly composed of Christian and Muslim representatives, and it has since maintained this distribution among its 128 members. It convenes twice a year in ordinary sessions in March and in October. Extra parliamentary sessions are called for by the speaker. During the Assembly sessions, members discuss vital national legislations and vote on proposed laws, commonly introduced by the Council of ←183 | 184→Ministers. Among its most important functions are to vote for a new president, nominate a new prime minister, approve a new government’s lineup and policy guidelines, discuss and vote on the government’s annual budget, vote on key governmental appointments, and approve and amend critical pieces of legislation, such as electoral laws.

The Parliament has remained a unicameral, confessionally elected assembly throughout its history. The Taef Accord stipulated that a higher chamber or a...

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