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The Government and Political System in Lebanon

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As a result of various foreign dominations in every period of its history, the culture of Lebanon developed into a smorgasbord of cultural facets that have been transmitted to other social systems including the government and political structure of the country. Unlike most countries, Lebanon has developed a government structure that recognizes religious differences. The country strived to neutralize the political instability caused by such differences by employing government officials that equally represent their own religious order.

Lebanon’s government follows the democratic parliamentary system which implements a distinct system called confessionalism. This system is an ideal way of deterring any sectarian conflicts that inevitably arise when there is unequal and unfair representation of various religious sectors. In practice, Lebanon has a fair demographic distribution of the eighteen (18) recognized religious groups in the government. The high ranking positions however are strictly reserved for members of a specific and dominant religious group. The position of the President is only designated to a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister to a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the Parliament to a Shi’a Muslim.

For its national legislature, there is the unicameral Parliament of Lebanon that equally divides its 128 seats between Muslims and Christians and is proportionately divided further into the 18 different denominations between its 26 regions. The Parliament for its part is elected for a four-year term through a universal suffrage.

The President on the other hand is elected by the Parliament with a two-third majority for a non-renewable six-year term. The Cabinet is formed by the Prime Minister after a detailed consultation with the Parliament and President.

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