Lebanon

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GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Population - Local time - Languages - Religion - Political context - Climate - Tourism - Food


Population


Total population (millions): 4.6
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Urban population: 88%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Average annual population growth: 1.2%
Source : World Bank - World Development Indicators

Surface area (km˛) : 10,452 km˛


Population origin

Origin of the population% Of the population
Arab95
Armenian4
Other1



Main Cities Population
Beirut 1 171 000
Tripoli 212 900
Sidon 149 000
Zahlé 76 600
Tyre 117 100



Local time

It is  %T:%M %A  in Beirut (GMT+2 in winter, GMT+3 in summer).
Summer time from March to October



Languages
Official language: Arabic.
Spoken languages: French, English and Armenian
Business language: French and Arabic.

Free translation tools

Arjeeb
Free English-Arabic-English translation of texts and web pages

Ectaco
Free Arabic-English-Arabic dictionary





Religion
Religious practises : Muslims (shiites and sunni) 70%
Christians (othodox, armenians, gregorians) 30%


Political context

Lebanon is a Republic state (official name: Lebanese Republic) based on parliamentary democracy. Lebanon has been the heart of the Middle East conflict involving Israel. The country’s three highest offices (President, Prime Minister and Speaker of the Parliament) are reserved for members of specific religious groups.
President is the chief of the state and is elected by the National Assembly for a six-year term. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President in consultation with the National Assembly and acts as the head of the government, to serve a four year term. Though Prime Minister enjoys the executive powers which include implementation of the law in the country and running the day-to-day affairs, but President also holds a strong and influential position which includes promulgation of laws passed by parliament and ratification of treaties. Cabinet is chosen by the Prime Minister in consultation with the President and members of the National Assembly. As per the constitution of the country, President must be a Maronite Catholic Christian and Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim.
The legislature in Lebanon is unicameral. The parliament called National Assembly consists of 128 seats; with its members elected by popular vote on the basis of sectarian proportional representation to serve four-year terms. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the parliament. The executive branch of the government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence. Prime Minister cannot dissolve the parliament nor can veto its enactment. Speaker of the Parliament must be a Shi'a Muslim.The people of Lebanon have very limited political rights.
Judiciary in Lebanon is not independent – it is strongly influenced by Syria. The main source of the law in the country is the constitution of 1926 (amended many times, most recently through the Taif Accord). The legal system is a mixture of Ottoman law, Napoleonic code and civil law. Lebanon has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction. The judicial language in the country is Arabic.
Lebanon is not ruled by law. A number of vaguely worded laws criminalize critical reporting on country’s military, the security forces, the judiciary, and the presidency. Foreign nationals cannot expect a fair trial from the country’s judicial system. A high degree of corruption exists in Lebanon; especially political corruption in the country is the highest among the Arab world.


Major political parties

Lebanon has numerous political parties, but they play a much less significant role in country’s politics than they do in most parliamentary democracies. Coalitions usually exist only for contesting the election, and rarely form a cohesive bloc in the National Assembly after the election. Some of the major political parties in Lebanon are:
- Current for the Future – a political movement and a major political party in Lebanon;
- Progressive Socialist Party – ideologically secular and officially non-sectarian, but in practice followers of the Druze faith;
- Hope Movement – advocates greater respect and resources for Lebanon's Shi'ite population;
- Party of God (Hezbollah) - Shi'a Islamist militant organization, supported by Iran;
- LF (Lebanese Forces) – a former militia but now a secular political party, supported mainly by Christians.


Major political leaders

President: Emile LAHUD (since November 1998, extended in 2004 for three years) – non-partisan
Prime Minister: Fuad SINIORA (since June 2005) – Rafik Hariri Martyr List (an anti-Syrian block of various political parties)


Next political election dates

National Assembly: Year 2010




Climate

 

 

 


Tourism


Number of visitors in Lebanon 2004 2005 2006 World rank
Number of visitors (1000) 1,278 1,140 1,063
Source : World Tourisme Organization, data available in November 2005

 

Tourist sites
Anjar, Baalbek, Byblos, Tyr. As for the relief: there are 4 successive zones parallel to the shore:
-The narrow coastal plain of Sahel, limited by a coast which is favorable to the establishment of ports.
-The massif of the Lebanon Mount-Djebel Liban - slightly bent southward down to Galilee mountains. The rivers digged deep gorges in the mountain.
-The high inland plain of Bekaa - 900 m high; it is prolonged with Akkar.
-Finally the massif of Anti-Lebanon: a desert plateau reaching its highest point at 2,300 m .

For more information about tourism in Lebanon , check out the following web site(s) :
Lebanese Tourism Board
Lebanese Ministry of Tourism



Food


Traditional dishes
Falafel: fried balls made of dry beans and chickpeas, traditionally served hot with chopped parsley sprinkled on top; they are served with slices of tomatoes and a sesame sauce. Falafels can constitute a meal or they can be served as an appetizer in smaller portions.
Tabouhlé or Tabbouleh: The famous Lebanese tabouhlé is famous for its energy-giving properties: it is a healthy salad, that you can either enjoy in a pita bread or as a side dish.
Hummus bi Tahina (Arabic Countries): it is a classic of Arabic countries, a chickpeas mush spread on pita bread; it replaces the mayonnese in an oriental " sandwich "; perfectly served with chicken or shish kebab; it is also used as a "quick dip" for mixed-salad.
Lahm Mishwi
Mouttabal.


Food-related taboos
Culinary taboos may vary with the religions of each community.

Last modified on December 2006

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