Lebanese protesters seek end to ‘confessional’ politicsBy DPA, IANS
Sunday, February 27, 2011
BEIRUT - Some 1,500 people Sunday took part in a march in the Lebanese capital Beirut to call for an end to the interplay between religion and politics in their country’s political system.
The demonstration was mobilised via a page on the networking website Facebook titled “Lebanese People Want to Topple Confessional Regime”.
The protesters gathered near the National Museum, along the green line that separated Beirut into Muslim and Christian halves during the 1975-1990 civil war.
They adopted similar slogans to those used by anti-government protesters in Tunisia and Egypt, who recently toppled long-time leaders Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak.
“The Lebanese want to oust the confessional regime” and “Confessionalism is bad … Tyrants of Lebanon, your turn is next,” the crowd chanted.
Lebanon is home to 18 religious sects. Under a 1943 power-sharing constitution, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of parliament a Shia Muslim.
Other government posts are also allocated according to religion.
In the past, there have been several unsuccessful efforts by leftist political parties to bring about an end to the confessional political system.