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Citizenship, Migration, and Confessional Democracy in Lebanon

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No major citizenship reform has been adopted in Lebanon since the creation of the Lebanese citizenship in 1924. Moreover, access to citizenship for foreign residents does not depend on established administrative rules and processes, but instead on ad hoc political decisions. The Lebanese citizenship regime is thus characterized by immobilism and discretion. This paper looks at the relationship between citizenship regime and confessional democracy, defined as a system of power sharing between different religious groups. It argues that confessional democracy hinders citizenship reform and paves the way to arbitrary naturalization practices, and that, in turn, the citizenship regime contributes to the resilience of the political system. In other words, the citizenship regime and the political system are mutually reinforcing.

Affiliations: 1: Marie Curie Fellow Sciences Po. ceriParis,


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