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7/19/15

Middle East: Lebanese Christians face political crisis - by Juliane Metzker

Dozens of cars, full of young men and women waving bright orange flags, are in a traffic jam in the government district of Beirut on a hot Thursday morning. They are all supporters of the Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), and they are gathering for a protest.

"We are here to protect the rights of Christians in Lebanon," says the 23-year-old student Joel. Together with a girlfriend, she is holding up a large poster of FPM party leader Michel Aoun. "The people up there cannot keep making decisions over our heads," adds Anton as he joins the girls. Those "up there" are the members of the Lebanese cabinet, which is meeting less than 100 meters (110 yards) away, in the Grand Serail, the headquarters of the Lebanese prime minister. Demonstrators are demanding that Lebanon finally get a new president, but not just any president - they want their president, and they are screaming at the top of their lungs: "God, Lebanon and Aoun; we don't need more than that!"

Lebanon is ruled under a so-called consociational democracy in which cabinet positions are allocated according to religious affiliation. Thus, the head of state is a Maronite Christian, as the Maronites make up the largest Christian community in Lebanon, alongside Orthodox Christians and Catholics.

Read more: Lebanese Christians face political crisis | Middle East | DW.COM | 19.07.2015

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