The Lebanese Constitution in the Force Field of War and Peace

In volume 5 of PRIF’s study series, Cordelia Koch examines the evolution of the Lebanese Constitution in the perspective of consociational democracy in the relation between constitutional document and Civil War of 1975-1990

Lebanon, once role model and carrying the hopes for a conflict resolution for so-called heterogeneous societies because of its power sharing among confessions, is still rattled by violence. Though, according to the theory of „consociational democracy“ the division of power between societal segments furthers peace and stability in states characterized by heterogeneous societies. But are the confessions the right elements of the Lebanese consociational democracy?

In “Verfassung im Kraftfeld von Krieg und Frieden. Von der konkurrenz- zur konkordanzdemokratischen Verfassung“ (Constitution in the Force Field Between War and Peace. From a competitive [majoritarian] to a consociational democratic constitution), Cordelia Koch depicts how the confessional power division continued to be incorporated into the political system, and, since 1990, even coins the structure of the Lebanese constitution. Thereupon, she examines the relationship between the constitutional charter and the civil war of 1975-1990 as well as the chances of a non-violent way of managing the conflict through the change of the constitution in 1990.

The results of her analyses show that the confessional power division has reinforced the tendencies to violence within the Lebanese system, the more so as this way of power division does not match with the originally lived structures and political situations. This division does particularly not correspond to the still existing political frictions of the Lebanese society that cut across to the confessional segments. Therefore, as far as the constitution is characterized by a confessional division of power since 1990, it will not contribute to pacifying the Lebanon.

The study was also submitted as dissertation at the law department of Giessen University in 2007. Cordelia Koch conveyed it during her stays at PRIF (2001-2004) and at the Orient-Institute of the „Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft“ Beirut (2004-2005) as holder of Ph.D. grants. From March 2003 until June 2005, she lived and did research in Beirut.

„Verfassung im Kraftfeld von Krieg und Frieden“ has been published as volume No. 5 of PRIF’s study series at Nomos publishing house. It costs 44,00 euros and can be purchased in bookstores or be ordered at Nomos (ISBN 978-3-8329-3646-4 ).