Economy and Politics
Lebanon is a democratic parliamentary republic. The Lebanese Constitution from 1926 is based on the separation of powers (executive, legislative and judiciary). According to the law, the president, the prime minister and the Parliament spokesman must be a Maronite Christian, a Sunni Muslim and a Shiite Muslim, respectively.
The President of the Republic must appoint the prime minister and the members of the Cabinet. The National Assembly elects the president, who remains six years in the function. The President of Lebanon, who must be a Maronite Christian, is the Head of State and is elected by the National Assembly by the majority of two thirds for a term of six years. The presidential term may be prorogated, but only six years after the person leaves the function.
The prime minister, a Sunni Muslim, is appointed by the president after consultation with the members and the head of the National Assembly. The members of the government are appointed by the same process. The distribution of ministries must reflect the religious multiplicity of Lebanon. Michel Suleiman was the last president of Lebanon (from 2008 to 2014). The current prime minister is Tammam Salam (since February, 2014). Lebanon remained without a president until November 2007 due to a deadlock between the situation group, which supports Western governments, and the opposition, headed by the Shiite group Hezbollah, supported by Syria.
The Lebanese Republic is divided into six administrative areas or “Muhafazats”: Beirut (Capital), Mount Lebanon (capital: Baabda), North of Lebanon (capital: Tripoli), South of Lebanon (capital: Sidon), Nabatieh (capital: Nabatieh) and Beqaa (capital: Zahleh).
The economy of Lebanon, as well as quality of life in Lebanon, has already been the most prosperous in the Middle East. However, due to the Lebanese Civil War between 1975 and 1990, the country’s economy was strongly affected, and the national income decreased to half and Lebanon was no longer the regional financial center.
According to the World Bank, Lebanon Gross Domestic Product, which was US$ 20,08 billion, increased to US$ 44,35 billion in 2013. It is a significant increase within ten years, yet it does not make Lebanon a prominent economy in the Middle East, as showed in the table below:
GDP per capita: 9,928 USD ?(2013)
Population: 4,467 million ?(2013)
Gross national income per capita converted to PPC dollars: 17,390 PPC dollars ?(2013)
Cultural and Social Data
Population Composition: Lebanese Arabs - 81%, Syrian Arabs - 16.5%, Palestinian Arabs – 1.5%, Kurds and Armenians - 1%.
Language: Arabic (official), French, Kurdish and Armenian.
Religion: Islamism – 56.5%, Christianity – 36.3% (Catholics – 25.2%, Orthodox – 11.6%, Protestants – 0.5%) and Druses – 7.2%.
HDI: 0.739 (2011)
Agricultural Products: citrus fruits, grapes, tomato, potato and tobacco.
Animal Husbandry: cattle, lambs, sheep, poultry.
Mining: iron ore and lignite.
Manufactures: building, cement, jewelry, textiles, chemical products and metallurgy