Lebanon Travel Guide
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Lebanon Government and Politics
Lebanon is a parliamentary democracy, which implements a special system known as confessionalism. This system is intended to deter sectarian conflict and attempts to fairly represent the demographic distribution of the 18 recognized religious groups in government. High-ranking offices are reserved for members of specific religious groups. The President, for example, has to be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of the Parliament a Shi’a Muslim.
Lebanon's national legislature is the unicameral Parliament of Lebanon. Its 128 seats are divided equally between Muslims and Christians, proportionately between the 18 different denominations and proportionately between its 26 regions. Prior to 1990, the ratio stood at 6:5 in favor of Christians; however, the Taif Accord, which put an end to the 1975–1990 civil war, adjusted the ratio to grant equal representation to followers of the two religions. The Parliament is elected for a four-year term by universal suffrage although the civil war precluded the exercise of this right.
The executive branch consists of the President, the head of state, and the Prime Minister, the head of government. The parliament elects the president for a non-renewable six-year term by a two-third majority. The president appoints the Prime Minister. Following consultations with the parliament and the President, the Prime Minister forms the Cabinet, which must also adhere to the sectarian distribution set out by confessionalism.
On June 27, 2009, Lebanon's president appointed parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri as prime minister after his pro-Western coalition, the March 14 Alliance, defeated a Hezbollah-led alliance in a June 2009 election. In November, after five months of cabinet negotiations, Hariri formed a national unity government.
Lebanon's judicial system is a mixture of Ottoman law, Napoleonic code, canon law and civil law. The Lebanese court system consists of three levels: courts of first instance, courts of appeal, and the court of cassation. The Constitutional Council rules on constitutionality of laws and electoral frauds. There also is a system of religious courts having jurisdiction over personal status matters within their own communities, with rules on matters such as marriage and inheritance.
Traveling, you realize that differences are lost: each city takes to resembling all cities, places exchange their form, order, distances, a shapeless dust cloud invades the continents. Italo Calvino
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries. Aldous Huxley