Minorities (Lebanon)

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Districts where 4–5% of the registered voters belong to Minorities.

In Lebanese politics Minorities (Arabic: أقليات’Aqaliyāt) is a term that includes six different Christian sects; Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholics, Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Catholics, Latin Catholics and Coptic Orthodox.[1][2] 1 of the 128 seats in the national parliament is allocated to Minorities (all seats in the Lebanese parliament are allocated to different confessional groups).[1] The Minorities' seat is elected from Beirut III electoral district, an electoral district with a large Sunni Muslim majority (65.25% of the registered voters).[1][3]

According to data released by the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities in 2011 (not an official census as such), there were 42,715 registered Minorities voters (1.28% of all registered voters in the country). Electoral districts with significant Minorities populations were Beirut I 10,063 voters (11.0% of the registered voters in the electoral district, overwhelmingly Syriac Catholics[4]), Beirut III 8,181 voters (3.18%), Metn 7,802 voters (4.56%), Zahle 7,225 voters (4.51%) and Beirut II 3,529 voters (3.44%).[3] In the capital Beirut (all three districts combined) Minorities represented 4.83% of the registered voters.[3]

History[edit]

French period[edit]

A Minorities seat has existed in Lebanese politics since the first elections in 1922.[5][6] However, the sects included in the Minorities concept has varied over time. During the first elections there were no separate seats for Protestants and Armenians, so they were included in Minorities as well. A separate Armenian Orthodox seat was instituted in 1934 and separate Protestant and Armenian Catholic seats were created in 1951.[7][8]

In 1925 Michel Chiha, a Latin Catholic banker and journalist, was elected from the Beirut Minorities seat in the Representative Council.[9][10][11]

In 1929 Abdallah Ishak, an Armenian Catholic, was elected from the Minorities seat.[7]

In the 1934 elections the battle for the Beirut Minorities seat stood mainly between the pro-government candidate Ayoub Tabet and Abdallah Ishak, contesting on the list of Abdallah Yafi.[12] Ishak got more votes than Tabet in the first round, but lost to Tabet in the second round.[12]

In the 1937 elections the Beirut Minorities seat was won by Chafic Nassif.[13]

From Independence to Civil War[edit]

In the 1943 elections, the first to be held after independence from France, Ayoub Tabet (contesting on the list of Sami as-Solh) and Moussa de Freige (contesting on the list of Yafi) vyed for the Beirut Minorities seat. Tabet was elected with 5,740 votes against 5,561 for de Freige.[14] De Freige won the seat in the 1947 elections, standing as the pro-government candidate. The Kataeb Party general secretary Joseph Chader was the main opposition candidate for the seat.[15]

For the 1951 elections separate Protestant and Armenian Catholic seats were set up in Beirut. Thus candidates from these communities no longer contested the Minorities seat.[8] Moussa de Freige, standing on the so-called List of Giants, was re-elected.[16]

In the 1953 election, the Minorities seat was allocated to the Beirut V – Minet El Hosn electoral district. As the Armenian Catholics had lost their separate seat, they again contested this seat.[17] The Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Gabriel I Tappouni supported Edmond Rabbath. On the other hand, Joseph Chader enjoyed support from the Jewish voters, who were generally sympathetic to the Kataeb Party. Chader narrowly defeated Rabbath, having obtained 2,081 votes against 1,922 for Rabbath.[18]

For the 1957 election, Beirut was divided into two constituencies. The Minorities seat was allocated to the second constituency, which consisted of Mudawar, Bashoura, Zokak Blat, Ras Beirut, Ain Mraysé, Minet El Hosn and Port. The Armenian Catholics regained their separate seat, which was elected from the same constituency.[19] Chafic Nassif won the Minorities seat with 14,471 votes. The main contender was Farid Jubran who got 10,923 votes.[20]

As per the 1960 Election Law, the Minorities seat was allocated to the Beirut II electoral district.[21] At the time Minorities included Syrian Orthodox, Syrian Catholics, Latin Catholics, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Jews.[22] As of 1960 Beirut II had 2,435 Minorities voters (5.65% of the voters in the electoral district).[21] Farid Jubran, a Latin Catholic belonging to the Progressive Socialist Party, won the Minorities seat in the 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1972 elections.[23][24][25][26]

Post-war period[edit]

In the 1992 and 1996 elections, Beirut was a single electoral district.[3] Per the 2000 Election Law, used for the 2000 and 2005 elections, the Minorities seat was allotted to Beirut's second district (Bashoura-Rmeil-Moseitebeh).[3][27][28] In the 2008 election law, the Minorities seat was allocated to Beirut III, consisting of Zokak Blat, Ras Beirut, Ain Mraysé, Minet El Hosn, Mazraa and Moseitebeh.[3] Nabil de Freige was elected from the Minorities seat in 2000, 2005 and 2009.[29]

In the constituency with the biggest share of Minorities voters, Beirut I, it was estimated that 32.2% of the registered Syriac Catholics voters had cast their votes in the 2009 general election. 51.3% where estimated to have voted for the pro-government candidates and 46.9% for the opposition candidates.[30]

As for the 2018 elections, Beirut will be divided into two districts. The Minorities seat will be allotted to Beirut's first district (Achrafiyeh-Rmeil-Saifi-Medawar). In 2018, Antione Pano won the Minorities seat. He ran on the list of the FPM, Strong Lebanon bloc.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Daily Star. Minority sects demand greater representation in Parliament
  2. ^ Assyrian International News Agency. Syriac Catholic Patriarch Demands Seat in Lebanese Parliament
  3. ^ a b c d e f IFES. Electoral Districts in Lebanon Archived 2015-04-07 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ According to the newspaper Balad there were 9,955 Syriac Catholic registered voters in Beirut I in 2009 compared to 177 registered voters belonging to the five other Minorities sects. Quoted in Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. p. 486
  5. ^ Meir Zamir (3 June 2000). Lebanon's Quest: The Search for a National Identity, 1926–39. I.B.Tauris. p. 274. ISBN 978-1-86064-553-2.
  6. ^ Hannelore Müller (2009). Religionen im Nahen Osten: Irak, Jordanien, Syrien, Libanon. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 239. ISBN 978-3-447-06077-6.
  7. ^ a b Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. pp. 37–39
  8. ^ a b Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. p. 105
  9. ^ Meir Zamir (3 June 2000). Lebanon's Quest: The Search for a National Identity, 1926–39. I.B.Tauris. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-86064-553-2.
  10. ^ Gérard D. Khoury (2004). Sélim Takla 1895–1945: une contribution à l'indépendance du Liban. KARTHALA Editions. p. 20. ISBN 978-2-84586-549-5.
  11. ^ William W. Harris (1997). Faces of Lebanon: Sects, Wars, and Global Extensions. Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-55876-115-5.
  12. ^ a b Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. pp. 43–49
  13. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. pp. 54, 59
  14. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. pp. 64, 66, 74
  15. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. pp. 89, 96, 100
  16. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. pp. 106, 116
  17. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. p. 120
  18. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. pp. 129–130
  19. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. p. 135
  20. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. pp. 142–143, 151
  21. ^ a b Yitzhak Oron, Ed. Middle East Record Volume 1, 1960. The Moshe Dayan Center. pp. 349–351. GGKEY:3KXGTYPACX2.
  22. ^ M. Colombe (1968). Orient. Orient. p. 21.
  23. ^ Yitzhak Oron, Ed. Middle East Record Volume 1, 1960. The Moshe Dayan Center. pp. 353–354. GGKEY:3KXGTYPACX2.
  24. ^ Michael C. Hudson; Leonard Binder; Harvard University. Center for International Affairs (May 1985). The precarious republic: political modernization in Lebanon. Westview Press. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-8133-0105-1.
  25. ^ Zuwiyya, Jalal. The Parliamentary Election of Lebanon 1968. Leiden: Brill, 1972. pp. 13, 17–20
  26. ^ Raghīd Ṣulḥ (2004). Lebanon and Arabism, 1936–1945. I.B.Tauris. p. 331. ISBN 978-1-86064-051-3.
  27. ^ Refworld. UK Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate Country Assessment – Lebanon
  28. ^ Daily Star. Salam warns supporters not be taken in by ‘doctored’ lists
  29. ^ National News Agency. Biography of Administrative Development Minister Nabil De Freij
  30. ^ Messerlian, Zaven. Armenian Participation in the Lebanese Legislative Elections 1934–2009. Beirut: Haigazian University Press, 2014. p. 486