POMEAS BRIEF No.11, February 2016
Since summer 2015, the Lebanese people have been regularly demonstrating against the political elites of the country. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to show their anger and to blame political leaders for their incapacity solve a garbage crisis, which seems never-ending. This crisis has revealed what the Lebanese have known for a long time but cannot stand anymore: political leaders are not committed to the public good, and their divisions paralyze an already weak state. Indeed, this crisis is a symptom of the dysfunction of the Lebanese state, which is undermined on one side by clientelism and corruption deriving from sectarianism, and, on the other side, by the recurrent blockade of political institutions by political rivals benefiting from a veto power. This situation is clearly a product of the Lebanese political regime: the consociational democracy based on confessionalism. This system seems to have reached its limits in a difficult context, and it has become clearer and clearer that it certainly does not operate to address the basic needs of the Lebanese citizen. Even if the opportunity exists, a change or at least a reform of the political system could prove to be very difficult to achieve in the current circumstances.