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Durham e-Theses
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Lebanon’s Democracy: Prospects and Pitfalls

EL-AMIN, MOHAMAD,HADI (2012) Lebanon’s Democracy: Prospects and Pitfalls. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.




In Lebanon, there is a common understanding and belief among many politicians and citizens, in equal measure, that Lebanon is a democratic country. This belief is not only restricted to those inside Lebanon, but also to be found in neighbouring Arab countries and among their people. In other words, Lebanon is believed to be a country that enjoys a relatively democratic political system, rule of law, and a vibrant civil society, compared to the rest of the region. However, this is for the most part a misunderstanding, and originates from most Lebanese people’s view that a modest level of freedom should be considered democracy, and that a relatively unconstrained civil society means an effective civil society.

The main purpose of this thesis is to analyse Lebanon’s political system and establish a clearer picture about whether the democratic claim is real or just an illusion. In order to build this picture, I have concentrated on the internal and external obstacles that have impeded the evolution of the Lebanese political system. The first part of the thesis discusses whether or not the Lebanese political system shares any of the features of functioning democratic political systems and whether or not it is running in a modus which reflects democratic values. In later chapters, the thesis moves on to examine the internal and external factors that have hindered the state from becoming a sovereign, authoritative state and thus without the necessary foundations for becoming a democratic state.

The study will demonstrate that Lebanon suffers from the domination of a militant organisation within its borders which violates the country’s sovereignty and disrupts the government and its institutions from functioning properly and being authoritative. Moreover, it will reveal that most citizens - a key element in any democracy - continue to feel subjugated, unable to make their voices heard, and without a say in the decision making process.

Moreover, it will be demonstrated that Lebanon suffers from several problems. Firstly and most importantly, it suffers from the lack of an effective state that imposes the rule of law on all of Lebanon’s territory. Secondly and equally important, Lebanon suffers from missing a major component that constitutes an essential pillar for the state, and that is sovereignty. Thirdly, election results are not taken into consideration as the public’s electoral choices are not respected, while instead powerful elite continues to rule the country illegally. These impediments and many others lead the study to conclude that the Lebanese political system currently remains far from being considered a democracy.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Democracy;Lebanon;Iran;Syria;Hezbollah;March 14;Sovereignty
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:28 Mar 2012 15:43

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