For Independence & Truth Demonstration-Beirut, Lebanon. March 14, 2005
Does the electoral law which was introduced by the former Syrian chief of
intelligence in Lebanon Ghazi Kanaan represent the will of Syria's proxies in
Lebanon or that of the million men/women independence march of March 14,
Here is a sample of the current law for the districts of Beirut.
The Rmeil district which is a predominately Christian one is cut out of its geographic and demographic surrounding
and placed with the predominately Muslim districts of Msaytbeh and Bashour for the sole purpose of diluting the
Christian Vote which becomes a minority with no voting significance. The same goes for Ashrafeyeh and Saifi which
are attached to Mazraha to dilute their Christian vote. As a result, no Christian can be elected without Muslim
sponsorship, and no Muslim candidate needs a Christian support to be elected for he/she will have enough Muslim
votes even if all of the Christians boycotted the elections. . . The same goes for the rest of the country of
Lebanon-the oldest democracy in the Middle East...
This is a sheer political monopoly; an oppression in disguise of democracy; and a dictatorship in disguise of
The distribution of parliamentary seats in most regions is unfair to the Christians for it gives many of their seats to
regions with predominately Muslim constituencies. As a result,  Christian members of parliament (MP) are elected
by non Christian constituencies while Muslim MPs are elected by Muslim ones. This plays a great deal in
marginalizing the Christians political power as well as in terms of economic development but especially in decision
making for this forces the Christians' MPs to cater for the Muslim majority of their constituencies instead of being
fair to all people in a given district. For example, according to the population of the district of Jbail, the Christians
deserve more than (2) Maronite seats while the Chouf district should have less than (3). In this case, MP seats
are distributed in such ways which give more leverage to the Druze vote over a Christian MP than to the
Christians themselves. This, too, has been playing a role in the marginalization and weakening of the Christians
political and economic roles in Lebanon.  Furthermore, minorities makes up more than 1% of the total population
in Lebanon. Therefore, they certainly deserves more than (1) vote, which is 1.28% of parliamentary seats. In
reality, one vote in the Lebanese parliamentary system is equal to ZERO for it can achieve nothing without the
help of others.  

In addition to the need to redraw the electoral districts, it is also important to redistribute the parliamentary seats
in most, if not all, regions in order to establish fair and proper representations of the people based on the
geography and demography of the country.

Another problem stands in the way of progress in Lebanon is the lack of a balance of power, not only among the
FOUR branches of government (Presidency, Premiership, Legislation, and Judiciary), but also within each branch.
For example, the power of the Speaker of the House is unlimited.  If he wishes, he can paralyze the work of the
entire legislation branch without fearing any repercussion for he has the power to convene, or not, the parliament
as he wishes. In order to prevent extremism and or the abuse of authority, the power of any given branch of
government must be removed from the hand of the one person to the hand of the group. For example, if for one
reason or another, the Speaker of the House did not convene the parliament, then the vice speaker should do. If
that failed too, then the eldest MP should lead the session given that a quorum is reached. This will not only
prevent abuse of power, but it will also give a legal way to deal with issues in times of national crises.

Anyhow, despite all of these disadvantages, the best way  to end oppression and to reinstate democracy in
Lebanon is to speak your conscious, demand your rights, VOTE, VOTE, and VOTE!!!

Let the million-Lebanese demonstration of Mach 14, be the model of the new united Lebanon; Let the liberation of
Lebanon be the first step of the 1000-mile trip towards reform and progress; Let democracy prevail because the
alternative is chaos...

Meanwhile, let’s hope that the new parliament will deal with such serious issues responsibly, especially since
reform and change are necessary in order for Lebanon to STOP the culture of corruption which was installed by
Syria, and to move forward to establish a culture of integrity-A Lebanese style democracy.  

Pierre A. Maroun
May 15, 2005
Lebanon's Parliamentary Elections-2005-A Syrian Style Democracy