The Distribution of Power in the Lebanese Parliament Revisited

Abstract : The governance structure of the Lebanese Republic is particularly characterized byits confessional nature guaranteeing a pre-defined representation of Christians andMuslims and its sectarian subgroups in parliament. In this sense, the composition of the parliament is based on the allocation of a specific number of seats to each of the two major religious groups and its sectarian subgroups. However, the ratio being used to assign seats to these sectarian subgroups has been an intensively debated controversial issue over decades. Recently, Diss and Zouache (2015) have addressed some aspects of power in the Lebanese Parliament. Applying the Penrose-Banzhaf and Shapley-Shubik indices, they investigate the relative confessional power distributions under the current seat distribution and a proposal for its amendment and revealed some paradoxical effects. Since then a new electoral law has been introduced for the Lebanese Parliament. In this paper, we reexamine the results of Diss and Zouache (2015) applying the Penrose-Banzhaf measure. Furthermore, we take into account the effects of the new electoral law and the seat distribution prior to the current one. This allows us to relate our findings to the general motivations for the electoral reforms underlying all studied seat distributions. Additionally, we address the implications of the existing party blocs in the current parliament from a party and confessional perspective. Currently, their existence is put into question in the public and political discussion. With our analysis, we deliver a theoretical foundation for this debate and demonstrate that in terms of parliamentary power the current bloc formation is a priori disadvantageous. Abstract The governance structure of the Lebanese Republic is particularly characterized by its confessional nature guaranteeing a pre-defined representation of Christians and Muslims and its sectarian subgroups in parliament. In this sense, the composition of the parliament is based on the allocation of a specific number of seats to each of the two major religious groups and its sectarian subgroups. However, the ratio being used to assign seats to these sectarian subgroups has been an intensively debated controversial issue over decades. Recently, Diss and Zouache (2015) have addressed some aspects of power in the Lebanese Parliament. Applying the Penrose-Banzhaf and Shapley-Shubik indices, they investigate the relative confessional power distributions under the current seat distribution and a proposal for its amendment and revealed some paradoxical effects. Since then a new electoral law has been introduced for the Lebanese Parliament. In this paper, we reexamine the results of Diss and Zouache (2015) applying the Penrose-Banzhaf measure. Furthermore, we take into account the effects of the new electoral law and the seat distribution prior to the current one. This allows us to relate our findings to the general motivations for the electoral reforms underlying all studied seat distributions. Additionally, we address the implications of the existing party blocs in the current parliament from a party and confessional perspective. Currently, their existence is put into question in the public and political discussion. With our analysis, we deliver a theoretical foundation for this debate and demonstrate that in terms of parliamentary power the current bloc formation is a priori disadvantageous.
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Pré-publication, Document de travail
Working paper GATE 2017-23. 2017
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Mostapha Diss, Frank Steffen. The Distribution of Power in the Lebanese Parliament Revisited. Working paper GATE 2017-23. 2017. 〈halshs-01587503〉

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