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Lebanon flag Lebanon:

Presentation of Lebanon : Politics

Current Political Leaders
President: Michel Awn (since 31 October 2016)
Prime Minister: Najib Mikati (since 10 September 2021)
Next Election Dates :
Presidential: 2022
National Assembly: May 2026
Current Political Context
Lebanon is characterised by a high level of political instability, aggravated by a severe economic crisis. The political system aims at preserving the balance between the main religious groups. In September 2021, as the country was diving further deeply into chaos and had experience a political deadlock for more than a year, a new government was formed, headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a billionaire telecoms tycoon and two-time former prime minister. The government initiated discussions with the IMF regarding a much needed recovery and reform plan. On the geopolitical scene, Lebanon remains at the heart of antagonism opposing the two largest regional powers, Saudi Arabia and Iran. As a result of an arrangement between Hezbollah and Iran, fuel from Iran was delivered to Lebanon in September, triggering the imposition of new sanctions from the US (Security Council Report). Following comments made by a Lebanese official criticizing the Saudi-led war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia expelled Lebanon’s ambassador and banned Lebanese imports. Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates also took diplomatic measures against Lebanon (The Economist Intelligence Unit). Ministers affiliated with Hezbollah have reportedly threatened to bring the new Lebanese government to a standstill unless Judge Tarek Bitar, who is leading the investigation into the 4 August 2020 Beirut port explosion, is removed. On 14 October 2021, seven people died and more than 30 were wounded following armed clashes that occurred in connection with anti-Bitar protests (Security Council Report). For the first time since 2014, the Israel Defence Forces conducted airstrikes on Lebanese territory at the Blue Line border.
Main Political Parties
Political forces are assigned by a fixed number of seats according to their religious denomination. They group to form electoral alliances, but such coalitions are weakly connected in practice. Two presiding coalitions formed in the wake of the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri:

- 14 March Coalition: maintains alliances with Druze and Phalange Christians; anti-Syrian. Comprised of:
     o Future Movement: centre-right, Sunni Muslim
     o Lebanese Forces: conservative, Maronite Christian
- 8 March Coalition: Centrist, Hezbollah-backed, pro-Syrian. Comprised of:
     o Free Patriotic Movement: centre to centre-left, Maronite Christian
     o Amal Movement: centre to centre-right, Shi'a Muslim
     o Hezbollah: Shi'a Muslim

Type of State:
A Republic based on confessionalism, parliamentary democracy. This means that each political position must be filled by a person of a particular denomination.
Executive Power
The President is the head of the state and is elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President in consultation with the National Assembly and acts as the head of the government, to serve a four year term. Though the Prime Minister enjoys the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs, the President also holds a strong and influential position which includes promulgation of laws passed by parliament and ratification of treaties. The Cabinet is chosen by the Prime Minister in consultation with the President and members of the National Assembly. As per the constitution of the country, the President must be a Maronite Catholic Christian and the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim.
Legislative Power
The legislature in Lebanon is unicameral. The parliament called National Assembly consists of 128 seats; with its members elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation, with quotas according to religion,  to serve four-year terms. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament. The executive branch of the government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. The Prime Minister cannot dissolve the parliament nor can he veto its enactments. The Speaker of the Parliament must be a Shiite Muslim.
 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Partly Free
Political Freedom:
5/7
Civil Liberties:
4/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
107/180

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Latest Update: November 2022