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Constitution of Lebanon

The Constitution of Lebanon was adopted on 23 May 1926. Initiated during the French Mandate, it established a governance model based on confessionalism to accommodate Lebanon's religious communities.[1]

Drafted with contributions from prominent figures and drawing inspiration from the French Third Republic, the constitution enshrined principles of liberty, equality, and religious freedom while instituting a system that allocated political representation and power based on religious affiliation. This included an equal division of legislative seats between Christians and Muslims, with further proportional distribution among their sects.[1]

Post-independence, the constitution underwent significant modifications, highlighted by changes including the 1943 National Pact and further refined by the 1989 Taif Agreement, with the latter aimed at resolving the 15-year Lebanese Civil War.[1]


The most recent amendment of the Constitution was for the Charter of Lebanese National Reconciliation (Ta'if Accord), in October 1989.


Article 11, on the Official National Language, declares that "Arabic is the official national language. A law determines the cases in which the French language may be used."

In an attempt to maintain equality between Christians and Muslims, Article 24 of the constitution mandates the distribution of offices on the basis of Confessionalism as an interim measure, but does not specify how they are to be allocated. (See National Pact) It does, nevertheless, specify that half the seats shall be given to Christians and half to Muslims. Article 24 in its entirety reads as follows.[2]

Until such time as the Chamber enacts new electoral laws on a non-confessional basis, the distribution of seats shall be according to the following principles:

  1. Equal representation between Christians and Muslims.
  2. Proportional representation among the confessional groups within each of the two religious communities.
  3. Proportional representation among geographic regions.

Exceptionally, and for one time only, the seats that are currently vacant, as well as the new seats that have been established by law, shall be filled by appointment, all at once, and by a two thirds majority of the Government of National Unity. This is to establish equality between Christians and Muslims as stipulated in the Document of National Accord. The electoral laws shall specify the details regarding the implementation of this clause.

The constitution describes the flag of Lebanon. The original version of Article 5 read "The Lebanese flag is blue, white, red with a cedar in the white part". A change made on 7 December 1943 indicated that "The Lebanese flag is made of red, white and red horizontal stripes, with the cedar in green in the centre of the white stripe". Some flag manufacturers have created a more conventional looking tree, with a brown trunk. Some allege that this is unconstitutional.[3]


A scholarly reference book on the Lebanese Constitution, describing its history and citing its full text as well as all its amendments was published in 1968 by Shafik Jiha and Wadih Chbat.[4]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Najem, Tom Pierre; Amore, Roy C. (2021). Historical dictionary of Lebanon. Historical dictionaries of Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East (2nd ed.). Lanham (Md.): Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 88–89. ISBN 978-1-5381-2043-9.
  2. ^ "Berkeley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs; Resources on Faith, Ethics, & Public Life; Constitution of Lebanon, Article 24". Archived from the original on 2015-06-18. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  3. ^ "Lebanon". Archived from the original on 3 July 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  4. ^ Constitution of Lebanon: History, Text, Amendements, DDC Classification: 342.56202. Publisher: Beit-el-Hikmah, Beirut, 1968.
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Constitution of Lebanon
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