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This article presents the Lebanese parliament as a form of institutionalized hybridity that offers a modicum of popular participation through highly regulated and moderated channels. It argues that the procedural nature of Lebanon’s electoral system is one that is largely, if not entirely, underscored by a closed elite bargaining process and is driven by elite preferences. This dynamic is a by-product of a power-sharing arrangement that ostensibly balances sectarian concerns, but in reality creates a disparity between political elites and the individuals within those sects which the consociational arrangement purports to include. However, this system has also created and reinforced challenges to its rule, particularly from below. With that in mind, this article highlights the evolving interactions between the entrenched, elite dominated, political system and popular protest movement and outlines how recent patterns of popular unrest present more fundamental critiques of the parliament and its central role in Lebanese politics.

In: Middle East Law and Governance