Lebanon, a multi-confessional state, is undergoing a deep socioeconomic change that could trigger a review of its constitutional arrangement. The tiny republic on the Mediterranean was born in 1920 as a liberal democracy with a market economy, where the Christians had the upper hand in politics and the economy. In 1975, Lebanon witnessed a major war that lasted for fifteen years, and a new political system emerged in 1989, dubbed the Ta’ef Accord. The new constitutional arrangement, also known as the “second republic,” transferred major powers to the Muslims. Under the new republic, illiberal policies were adopted in reconstruction, public finance, and monetary policy, coupled with unprecedented corruption at the highest levels. On 17 October 2019, the country exploded in a social revolution which could precipitate the death of the second republic or the demise of the country as another victim of predator neoliberalism.



On 17 October 2019, what started as a protest against the government’s attempt to raise a tax on the use of free telecommunications apps turned within hours into a wider movement about a series of grievances and a long list of abuses committed by the Lebanese ruling class. The protests emitted a grassroots’ appeal and, within forty-eight hours, hundreds of thousands of protestors went out onto the streets and public squares, demanding the fall of the government and the arrest of symbolic figures for corruption and nepotism.

The current crisis originates from the government of Rafiq Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon (1992–98, 2000–04), who represented the interests of global neoliberalism, even if he did not know it. His policies were left intact after his assassination in 2005, and his son, Saad, carried the torch and reached a similar cul-de-sac in October 2019 and had to resign.

A series of domestic and international factors explain why Lebanon has been living in the same crisis in the same conditions since the year 2000.

Read more Predator Neoliberalism: Lebanon on the Brink of Disaster




Rafiq Hariri

monetary policy

Lebanese history and politics

Bank of Lebanon

Lebanese economy