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Changing the Lebanese Political System: What are the Alternatives to the Present Sectarian System

Rafidi

Legendary Member
So after the elections, all parties will be in government. Only in Lebanon there are no losers in elections, and the results are projected and known before the election results are out. No fair competition. More or less referendum that secure the electoral shares of politicians. Lebanese politics/election is a stock exchange.

LF, Amal, HA, FPM, PSP, Marada, FM, etc will campaign against one another, and they all will end up forming a government.

And when things are in a mess, they all condemn the "state", blame it or ask "where is the state"! All political parties, even those in government see themselves as " opposition". Even the prime minister himself is opposition!!!

What a sham!
 
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Robin Hood

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Our sectarian system is staying until Hell freezes over. Trying to change that is futile.
 

JB81

Legendary Member
So after the elections, all parties will be in government. Only in Lebanon there are no losers in elections, and the results are projected and known before the election results are out. No fair competition. More or less referendum that secure the electoral shares of politicians. Lebanese politics/election is a stock exchange.

LF, Amal, HA, FPM, PSP, Marada, FM, etc will campaign against one another, and they all will end up forming a government.

And when things are in a mess, they all condemn the "state", blame it or ask "where is the state"! All political parties, even those in government see themselves as " opposition". Even the prime minister himself is opposition!!!

What a sham!

When you have 90% of people voting for someone just because they belong to their sect despite the rotten corruption roaming within the alliance, do you think the Lebanese understand accountability to be ready for a liberal democracy where there is a true loyalists vs. Oppositionists?
 

LiNk

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Three issues that need to be tackled in the near future to implement positive change in Lebanon:

1. Age limit for MPs and government office holders.

2. Tenure limit. An MP, PM, etc should have a tenure limit like the president does to break the feudal monopoly of some families in Lebanese politics.

3. Law preventing MPs getting govt appointment or being selected for ministerial posts.

I agree if point 2 applies for the speaker as well. But I guess that's how you meant it.

How about implementing rotation for the top 3 positions? I believe that this could reduce the deadlock we often experience and represent a suitable transition for beginning the long process of cultural change we need.

A senate voted using the Orthodox law could be given supervisory authority.
 

The Bidenator

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
do you hold the same opinion about the guy standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen square in China back in 1989? Was it also the protester's fault for the tank stepping on him?

I do not consider standing in front of moving heavyweight machinery a form of protest at all. Man wasn't ran over by tank, but if he was I wouldn't blame tank driver.

It is a form of self-sacrifice, sure, but a free choice nevertheless and I simply do not see how you can fault anyone else for that choice.
 

!Aoune32

Well-Known Member
I agree if point 2 applies for the speaker as well. But I guess that's how you meant it.

How about implementing rotation for the top 3 positions? I believe that this could reduce the deadlock we often experience and represent a suitable transition for beginning the long process of cultural change we need.

A senate voted using the Orthodox law could be given supervisory authority.

A senate needs a chair and the chair should be a rotation between the orthodox, catholic and druze. 2 years each.
The PM and Speaker can rotate their positions but the Presidency stays for the christians. The President is given some powers back i.e no signature no implementation. Then we have a parliament 100 seats no sect allotment. Districts same as now 15.
 

LiNk

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
A senate needs a chair and the chair should be a rotation between the orthodox, catholic and druze. 2 years each.
The PM and Speaker can rotate their positions but the Presidency stays for the christians. The President is given some powers back i.e no signature no implementation. Then we have a parliament 100 seats no sect allotment. Districts same as now 15.

I think the goal should be a functional governing structure. If giving back the president some powers would be aligned with that goal, so be it.

In a functional structure, I think all three positions - President, PM and Speaker - could be subject to rotation. There's no reason for Christians to gain favorable treatment, especially if there's a higher authority voted based on the Orthodox law and supervising major strategic decisions.

The power struggle between the top 3 positions is amplified due to the religious affiliation of each and the pressure that arises from that confessional representation. The assumption I'm making is that rotation would reduce political friction and transfer it to somewhere where it could be on the long-run more productive - for example to the council of ministers.

I don't see how the points you've raised regarding parliament would be linked to implementing rotation. In my opinion parliament should stay as is until we achieve an acceptable leap forward in terms of political and social culture.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
When you have 90% of people voting for someone just because they belong to their sect despite the rotten corruption roaming within the alliance, do you think the Lebanese understand accountability to be ready for a liberal democracy where there is a true loyalists vs. Oppositionists?

You are right. But the root causes have to do with the set up in place.

For example, I have witnessed elections in other countries. A citizen can vote anywhere within the country. Only in Lebanon, you are first a villager before a citizen. If I have to vote, I have to go to my village or electoral district. Of course this has to do with the electoral law. But it does affect perceptions. When election is held on the district level and not on the national level for the nation's members of parliament it does affect electoral competition and it affects the entire system.

The new Parliament must and should go back to the issue of making a modern and acceptable electoral law with Lebanon as one electoral district. Let the Lebanese choose their deputies and be able to vote anywhere and from anywhere with their IDs. The 27 Maronites with the highest number of votes will succeed and the 27 Sunnis and 27 Shi'a etc will succeed. Let the nation vote. I am first of all a citizen and not a villager. I belong to a country and not to a district.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
I agree if point 2 applies for the speaker as well. But I guess that's how you meant it.

How about implementing rotation for the top 3 positions? I believe that this could reduce the deadlock we often experience and represent a suitable transition for beginning the long process of cultural change we need.

A senate voted using the Orthodox law could be given supervisory authority.

Tenure limit should involve all govt positions including that of the speaker.

What we have in Lebanon is institutionalized dictatorship. Mr Berri has been speaker since 1992. If Lebanon was 100% Shia, it won't have happened. This can't happen in Iran. It won't be accepted by the people. It is clear that sectarianism is being milked to the selfish interest and advantage to some individuals who have transformed themselves into sectarian icons for their own ends.

I dont believe in any sort of rotation. All positions in the country should be open to all citizens and religion should not be the basis to occupy any seat in government or in public offices. In the spirit of coexistence and tolerance, when the first position is from religion X, the deputy should be from religion Y.

When you have a druze president, and a Christian vice, it is normal that the senate would like be headed by a Christian president and the deputy a shia, and the speaker would be Sunni and the vice a Catholic

This is very much acceptable to me even though no shia is in any top position or any leading position. It fosters cohesion and cross-sectarian alliances. The goal becomes to get all lebanese agree on SOMEONE.

The partisan politics in Lebanon is limited and a bondage for the citizens. The main parties have ensured that they keep a tight grip on the citizens. And the citizens have little option for change. This is the case with all the parties from all the sects.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
A senate needs a chair and the chair should be a rotation between the orthodox, catholic and druze. 2 years each.
The PM and Speaker can rotate their positions but the Presidency stays for the christians. The President is given some powers back i.e no signature no implementation. Then we have a parliament 100 seats no sect allotment. Districts same as now 15.

When a govt seat belongs to a religion, that seat becomes a leader of that religion.

Let us be sane and real. Do you think the average Amal supporter sees Aoun or Berri as his leader or president? Same with the average Sunni guy who sees hariri as his leader. The division is institutionalized.

When you insist on the presidency belonging to Christians, the president will always be the president of Christians and not of Lebanese, even if we pretend and our hypocrisy makes us believe otherwise or act otherwise.

The president should be president of all Lebanese. You will not lose an ear or an eye, if you as a Christian vote for a druze to become president or a Sunni to become president. Maybe the Sunni as president can favor your living standards better than a Maronite president.
 

LiNk

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Tenure limit should involve all govt positions including that of the speaker.

What we have in Lebanon is institutionalized dictatorship. Mr Berri has been speaker since 1992. If Lebanon was 100% Shia, it won't have happened. This can't happen in Iran. It won't be accepted by the people. It is clear that sectarianism is being milked to the selfish interest and advantage to some individuals who have transformed themselves into sectarian icons for their own ends.

I dont believe in any sort of rotation. All positions in the country should be open to all citizens and religion should not be the basis to occupy any seat in government or in public offices. In the spirit of coexistence and tolerance, when the first position is from religion X, the deputy should be from religion Y.

When you have a druze president, and a Christian vice, it is normal that the senate would like be headed by a Christian president and the deputy a shia, and the speaker would be Sunni and the vice a Catholic

This is very much acceptable to me even though no shia is in any top position or any leading position. It fosters cohesion and cross-sectarian alliances. The goal becomes to get all lebanese agree on SOMEONE.

The partisan politics in Lebanon is limited and a bondage for the citizens. The main parties have ensured that they keep a tight grip on the citizens. And the citizens have little option for change. This is the case with all the parties from all the sects.

I agree with you on the long-term goal of having all positions open to everyone regardless of sect. But let's face it, popular maturity and the readiness of most political parties for implementing such a system is close to nil. This requires trust. And trust can only be built step by step.

I have proposed the idea of rotation as a transitional solution where the frictions I've mentioned earlier and I believe you have pinpointed as well in other replies would be minimized, and the national representativeness of these 3 positions enhanced.
 

JeanH

Well-Known Member
Orange Room Supporter
This thread is created in sequel to the below thread/posts:
hello rachel corrie long time no see, glad to see you back .
a have some remarks, i would like for you to consider them
1- there is no such thing as a secular state but with some exceptions, secular state means 100% seperation of church (or mosq) from state, there are no buts and ifs, no country can call itself secular even if it has a single meaningless position as small as a janitor appointed based on relegion, what you are talking about is not a secular state by any means

2-equal rights and civil marriage: civil marriage is not a fezzay3a that christians have in order to halt implementation of a secular state , if we would have a refferendum i assure you the majority of christians would vote for and the majority of muslims will vote against, me personnally i am all for civil marriage. on another note 'equal rights ' in marriage also means that you cannot have more than one wife , i believe you live in europe and understand that hegemony is not allowed under a secular state, you can have as many wives as you want and as many children from each wife as you want but to the state you only have one wife, you can get marry as much as you want in the mosque but to the state its just a paper, you have one wife, good luck trying to convince the muslim community with it

3- christians in lebanon do not want to be overlords , the rhetoric of the seventies is long gone , the 2aklouna l islem rhetoric was used on poor christian peasents that cant understand what was happening, when you come to think of it the civil war was a war of ideologies with some relegious touches here and there yes. the struggle for christians is the struggle of the way of life, and is a struggle against political islam not islam or muslims.
i do not care what and how you worship unless you right to worship or believes inter laps with my way of living or my freedom; have you heard of singapore ? about 90% muslim country; i rather be a christian in singapore than a christian in lebanon, its not about 'muslims in power' its about which muslim is in power.
how can you convince a christian that he should give up this extra 15 % of power proportional to his size when you see that the muslim community maintains de facto laws in areas where they have hegemony, even the silliest stuff stacks up to a limitation of freedom, why cant you find a single shop that has alcahool in an area with 1 million people (da7ye) or half a million in tripolis(not to mention other areas),why does a caffee in tripolis two years ago gets a grenade for serving food during ramadan ? the list goes on that where a few examples, and btw in the current system i have no problem what so ever with these de facto legislations , but what guarantee do i have that in the futur this wont happen elsewhere ? if musim can make their own rules without any hassel, what guarantees me that these rules wont be put to paper in the parlement when you dont have 50% of MPs christian ?

finally what you are talking about is not a secular state its a change in the confessional system as well as the ruling system (parlementary to presidential)
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
Federalism is not division. Many of the most advanced Countries in the world are federal countries.

The only reason I see some Muslims rejecting federalism is because after becoming a majority of the population in the country in the 1980ies they also seek to Become a majority in the traditional Christians districts (btw it’s already the case in Zahle and Baabda districts formerly Christian’s districts) a federal system will prevent this.

Or maybe they know that the Christian autonomous regions will become more prosperous and attracted more investments.

BTW, federalism is already implemented undercover. When Tripoli decides to ban alcohol advertising, when Nabatiyeh officially bans alcohol selling, when Hadath municipality refuse to register real-estates transfer to other than Christians, that’s federalism in disguise and is against the current Lebanese law. BTW seems some Druze municipalities are doing the same in the Mountain...

Secularism will not work, we have no exemple of a successful secular Arab/Muslim country. Full secularism is a weapon used today by some Christians to counter the Muslim « majority » claim. They know Muslims will never accept full secularism.

Lebanon at some point was a federal country. During the ottoman era when mount-Lebanon while being one political entity was divided into two federal regions (Christian and Druze)

Another argument for federalism is that historically greater Lebanon was built in 1920 by adding predominantely Muslim regions to an already autonomous Christian/Druze Mount-Lebanon (The Moutassarifiya).

A federal system today will just put some rules and a legal frame to what is already being practice on the ground.

Seriously at the next elections in 2022 Sunni alone and Shi’a alone will probably outnumber all the Christians (currently numbers are very close), so the 50/50 formula will be less and less acceptable. So this is the time for Christians and muslims to start considering the future. Lebanon is in my opinion an ideal country for experiencing a federal system.

Agree with everything, except that secularism was never a weapon used by Christians. Christians used to talk about secularism because they saw it as a solution against islamization, while giving Muslims equal rights to Christians.

Christians don't want secularism anymore, because they realized it is Muslims who will use secularism as a weapon. With a "one man one vote" system that does not offer sectarian protection, Muslims can effectively take all the power under the guise of secularism.

A Shia forumer once even said that he prefers an Islamic state, but if he can't have that, he'll take secularism over a sectarian power sharing agreement. Because he knows very well that a sectarian power sharing agreement will safeguard the Christian's share of power, while secularism won't.

In any case, all this talk is useless. The country has sunk so low that it would take a miracle to make it liveable again.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
You can start f****ng more and giving birth to more children.

You can f*** until you are 99.9% of the population and suffocating in your own regions, but we will still keep our 50% of power or separate our regions.

Go bang your head on a wall all you want.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
I have replied on the points you raised earlier. Please review the thread. If you, however, cannot find the answers to your questions, let me know and I will repeat my position. I am not blaming the "Christian community" as a whole. The Christian community in Lebanon is not a single, homogenous community. And the Christian community generally, is as much a victim of the Lebanese caste system as everyone else. I am talking about colonial policies which christian leaders imposed on the nation in connivance with French colonial authorities. Those policies are still haunting us as a nation and preventing us from having a modern country of law and order where all citizens live in respect and equally. Lebanon as it is presently is not a modern country; if it can referred to as one in the first place, that is only on paper and not on ground.

The European colonialists are long gone; and with them, the golden era of Lebanon. Today, we have Iran and Saudi Arabia...and Lebanon is a third world country. Literally.
 

Indie

Legendary Member
Orange Room Supporter
If a federal system is chosen by the majority of Lebanese, so be it. But you cannot impose it because it favors you or favors only one segment of society.

Eh akid...those who keep "f***ing* and overpopulating the country all the way to third world status are the "majority" who should decide.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
I agree with you on the long-term goal of having all positions open to everyone regardless of sect. But let's face it, popular maturity and the readiness of most political parties for implementing such a system is close to nil. This requires trust. And trust can only be built step by step.

I have proposed the idea of rotation as a transitional solution where the frictions I've mentioned earlier and I believe you have pinpointed as well in other replies would be minimized, and the national representativeness of these 3 positions enhanced.

The question of "popular maturity", as you call it, is exactly what sectarian warlords and politicians use to ensure a continuation of the sectarian system in place. That is only an excuse. Those mature among the people must put the needed pressure on the sectarian icons in the state to make the needed change and normalize the polity and government institutions in Lebanon to build a viable state for all citizens based on equal respect, opportunities and acceptance. If the pressure is not exerted and the sensitization is not made, we will live for another fifty years and claim we are not mature enough. It is time to accept that we are mature and what is required to lead the country is being lebanese and not coming from one religion or the other. The main stumbling block could be arms outside the state. And even that can be solved with a defense strategy that would institutionalize the resistance to occupation as a major concern for citizens who live in the south and to round up all weapons outside state control. In the first place, it is this governance based on racism and divisions that led to a part of the country feeling marginalized and neglected and seeing the need, vacancy and urgency to pick up weapons and defend the land.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
Eh akid...those who keep "f***ing* and overpopulating the country all the way to third world status are the "majority" who should decide.

Sorry...population is a double edged sword. You can use it to your advantage or use it to your destruction. I wouldn't use China, India, and Brazil as examples. Let us use hong Kong. Hong Kong is about five times smaller than Lebanon with a population of over seven million. It is like a situation whereby Lebanon is having a population of over twenty million. So population does not actually lead you to the status of a third world country. It is poor leadership and bad planning that do. Of course your comment is sandwiched with racist undertones. It is a reflection of what you are.
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
The European colonialists are long gone; and with them, the golden era of Lebanon. Today, we have Iran and Saudi Arabia...and Lebanon is a third world country. Literally.

We are still living under the influence of colonialism. In my humble opinion, the system in Lebanon is not much different than than of apartheid south Africa or even the "Jewish state". The only difference is that Lebanese have come to accept the anomaly as something they can live with. The Palestinians could as well accept anything in the name of coexistence, tolerance and peace. And that is the idea behind Ibn Salman's comment in the US that the Palestinians should either make peace (with their oppressors) or shut up!
 

Rafidi

Legendary Member
You can f*** until you are 99.9% of the population and suffocating in your own regions, but we will still keep our 50% of power or separate our regions.

Go bang your head on a wall all you want.

When you speak of "our"... You forget that you are a second class citizen even among your fellow Christians. You are an armenian. You are more or less a lesser citizen than the other lesser citizens in this retarded political system in Lebanon. You are not only lesser in terms of religion (being a non-maronite), you are also seen and treated and considered lesser in terms of ethnicity (being non-Arabic). Even among you as " Christians", the masters are the maronites. You are just a sheep.
 
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