Lebanese demonstrators shout slogans during the Laique Pride III march
Lebanese demonstrators shout slogans during the Laique Pride III march, calling for equality amongst all Lebanese citizens in Beirut. More than 1,000 people marched in the Lebanese capital on Sunday calling for the establishment of a secular state in the country which is ruled by a system of power-sharing along religious lines. © Anwar Amro - AFP
Lebanese demonstrators shout slogans during the Laique Pride III march
AFP
Last updated: May 7, 2012

Lebanese protest against confessionalism

More than 1,000 people marched in the Lebanese capital on Sunday calling for the establishment of a secular state in the country which is ruled by a system of power-sharing along religious lines.

"Secularism is the solution," and "The people demand a civil state," the crowds chanted as they marched in Beirut streets waving Lebanese flags, an AFP correspondent said.

Many Lebanese blame the current power-sharing system along religious lines for the majority of problems facing the small Mediterranean nation, home to 18 religious sects.

Lebanon's system of government is rooted in a 1943 power-sharing agreement adopted after the country won its independence from France.

Aimed at maintaining a balance between the 18 religious communities, the agreement calls for the president to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister to be Sunni Muslim and parliament speaker a Shiite.

Other government jobs are also allocated according to religious affiliation.

Many Lebanese believe that this power-sharing arrangement is responsible for most of the country's problems, including corruption, cronyism and the devastating 1975-1990 civil war.

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