Lebanon’s consociational politics in the post-2011 Middle East
This chapter analyzes the main trends underlying Lebanon's politics after the Arab revolts, and account for some of the reasons for Lebanon's paradoxical resilience. This paradoxical resilience can be captured through the following equation: power-sharing institutions are dysfunctional, procedural aspects of democracy such as elections have been suspended, and political polarization permeates policy spheres. Lebanon's political system is framed as an instance of consociationalism organized by power-sharing arrangements of its larger religious denominations. The 1989 Taif Accord, credited for ending the civil war and restoring power sharing, introduced some amendments to the consociational arrangement. The chapter looks at the main crises that have occurred over the last few years and examines their interrelationships with the Syrian conflict. It describes Lebanon's major institutional crises in the context of a changing Middle East. Recurrent institutional crises have revealed over recent years the importance of introducing provisions that would regulate the overuse of disruptive veto powers.