Country Listing

Lebanon Table of Contents



Government: Central government marginally functional in 1987 and exercised only nominal control. Constitution vests executive power in president of republic, who appoints the cabinet ministers, from whom he selects prime minister. Legislative functions performed by unicameral Chamber of Deputies, elected for four-year terms by universal suffrage. In 1987 no elections had been held since 1972, and only seventy-seven deputies remained out of ninety-nine elected in 1972. Electoral system provided for proportional representation (based on 1932 census) in Chamber of Deputies by religion as well as by region. Chamber of Deputies elects president for six-year term and approves his cabinet appointments. By custom, president a Maronite, prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and speaker of the Chamber of Deputies a Shia Muslim. Judicial system, except for religious courts, based on French model.

Politics: 1975 Civil War, foreign intervention, and internal fighting generally have disrupted politics. Before 1975 many nonideological political parties centered on powerful leaders whose followers were usually of same sect. Since 1975 militias have overtaken parties in importance. New president scheduled to be elected by Chamber of Deputies in September 1988.

Foreign Relations: In 1987 central government only one of many actors conducting foreign policy. Syria and Israel wielded greatest influence, followed by Iran (especially among some Shias) and Western nations (especially among some Christians).

Data as of December 1987