Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

The Lebanese Republic: Naming and counting

Posted by worriedlebanese on 13/07/2009

ist2_2334825_puzzled_kids_cartoonThe FPM’s electoral campaign launched a very sterile debate over the coming of the Third Republic. But  Before tackling the numbers issue, let’s try to name this republic, find the right adjectives that best describe it.
– The first obvious answer is Banana Republic (the BR), but the term is too derogatory and not the least explanatory.
– with a little more analysis one can come up with the “Martyrs of Sovereignty (Hezbollah’s) and Independence (March XIV®) Republic (the MSIR)
– A more socio-political approach will give us the “Zu’ama Republic” or the “Quadripartite Republic” (the ZR or the QR).

Now let’s get to the numbers!
Is this the First, Second or Third Republic?
What’s the story behind them? It all started with the Taef agreement. Some political analysts wanted to show that Lebanon was making a new start, institutionally speaking. So they followed the French academic system that distinguishes between 5 different republics.The only difference is that the French have very strict rules for counting republics:

– They only count constitutions (or laws that can be considered as a constitution in the case of the third republic)
– They exclude all “non-republican” forms of constitutional documents
– They only look at the promulgation of a new constitutional document, and do not see if this constitutional document was actually followed (the constitution of 1793, the first Republic, never was!) or if major institutional changes were made to it (i.e. the form of government during the third republic changed from crypto-monarchic to full-fledged parliamentarian, and the form of government in the Fifth Republic changed from parliamentarian to increasingly presidential).

If we follow the same rules as in France, Lebanon is still living through the troubling times of the FIRST Republic, the one that was established with the promulgation of our one and only republican constitution, that of 1926!
If we want to device our own rules of calculation, and consider that each major institutional change or amendment of the constitution warrants the naming of a new republic, then we have to admit that the Taef Accords and constitutional reforms that followed it have established the Third Republic: the First starting from 1926 and ending in 1943, the Second republic starting in 1943 and ending in 1990…

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