Event details

The Lebanese constitution: Legality in the arena of political philosophy

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Wissam el-Lahham

Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 6-8 pm

Orient-Institut Beirut



The Lebanese constitution and the National pact are often depicted as identical in nature. It even became widely accepted to reduce a political agreement such as the Taef accord or the Doha settlement into a mere legal text only to be studied by jurists. But upon further inspection one can discover fundamental discrepancies between the constitution and the pact of philosophical order. Concepts such as “legitimacy”, “sovereignty”, and “pact of coexistence” are intrinsically non-legal, and only by uncovering their political potential can we grasp the intricacies of the Lebanese political regime. It is this lack to understand the philosophical foundations of these modern notions that transforms them into a legal weapon in the hands of the different political parties.


Wissam el-Lahham is a Political scientist (M.A. 2012, Université Saint-Joseph) with a focus on constitutional law and political philosophy. He is the author of numerous publications addressing the role of Islam and constitutionalism, civic values, and reform in the Lebanese political system, most notably “The simplified Lebanese constitution” (المبسط في الدستور اللبناني, Beirut 2010), “The Caliphate: A study of the Sunni imamate” (الخلافة، بحث في مؤسسة الإمامة لدى السنة, Beirut 2009), and “Averroes and his call to philosophy” (ابن رشد ودعوته إلى الفلسفة, Beirut 2012).