Ethnopolitical conflict in Lebanon: An institutional and economic analysis
Hassan, Aref Naji
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In this study we will assess the stability of the Second Republic in Lebanon by examining the institutional restructuring of Lebanon's Second Republic and the response of these institutions in terms of proportional distribution of government resources among the ethnic and communal groups in Lebanon. Lebanon's First Republic was a consociational democracy which collapsed in 1975 when the Lebanese civil war started. Among the major reasons leading to this civil war were the institutional rigidity of the First Republic and the disproportional distribution of resources among the communal groups, favoring the Christians vis-à-vis the Muslims. The signing of the Taef Peace Accord in 1989 ushered the start of the Second Republic where a new consociational democracy was built with a reformed institutional structure (though the violence did not end until 1990). It was believed this reformed institutional structure would make the Second Republic more responsive in terms of balanced proportional distribution of resources among the communal groups. This study will rely on data collected during a research trip undertaken by the author between September of 2004 and August of 2005. The quantitative data included figures on inter-group differences in governmental expenditures and resource allocation by region and ethnic group. The qualitative data included opinions of political elites and senior government administrators. The study used the data collected to make an informed judgment about the new institutional structure, institutional response, and consequently stability in the Second Republic. The findings of this study make an added contribution to the literature on Lebanon's current and future outlook and will shed more light on the state of affairs in a multiethnic country that's situated in a region characterized with long standing ethnic and communal rivalries.