Saturday, May 3, 2008

Needed in Lebanon III (Updated May 6th)

In a June 2005 oped, this blogger listed a number of unfortunate issues with Lebanese electoral rules including:

Beyond the fact that this arrangement enshrines sectarianism and ensures the perpetuation of religious and ethnic divisions, there are numerous issues with this "democracy" - the last official census in Lebanon was in 1932 (it is too explosive to arrange one); the Christians estimated at 40% of the population have half the seats, as do the Muslims, estimated at 60% of the population; absentee voting is not allowed, disenfranchising the (very many) Lebanese who live outside Lebanon; you can only vote in the village or town your forefathers were born in, thus requiring that people travel to their birth place at least twice during elections - once for voter registration and the other time to vote;, the minimum voting age is 21 (alienating the many in the 18-21 age group); many who have been born and lived their entire lives in Lebanon may not vote as it is extremely difficult in Lebanon to become a naturalized citizen, etc., etc.

Sectarian Citizenship bemoans the fact that sectarianism is engrained in Lebanon, quote "Last year, when a group of people submitted a request to the Interior Ministry to delete their religious affiliation from official registries, the reply was that no one has the right to be without a religion in Lebanon. This might be dismissed as a quaint tradition if it were not for that fact that, as Sunday, April 13, marked the 33rd anniversary of the outbreak of the outbreak of Lebanon’s devastating 15-year civil war, the specter of conflict, once again, looms over a country still dominated by sectarian allegiance. "

The articles "The syndicate battle. Engineers and architects cast their ballots" and "University elections a political barometer" show how the political divisions and polarization in the country have insinuated themselves into areas that you would not expect to be divided along political lines – elections for the Order of Engineers and Architects, and elections for student government at the Université Saint-Joseph. A sad commentary, the Lebanese need to get beyond this…

See also Needed in Lebanon II

May 6th Update: LF vs. FPM "students", see Christian political rival supporters clash in Beirut

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