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Lebanon , officially the Lebanese Republic , is a sovereign state in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south.
With a parliamentary democracy, Lebanon represents 18 official religious group with specific government positions relegated for specific religious denominations. The President must be a Maronite Christian and Prime Minister, a Sunni Muslim.
Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East. As of 2014 the CIA World Factbook estimates the following: Muslim 54% (27% Shia Islam, 27% Sunni Islam), Christian 40.5% (includes 21% Maronite Catholic, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Melkite Catholic, 1% Protestant, 5.5% other Christian), Druze 5.6%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha'is, Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons.
Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking. Because of its financial power and diversity in its heyday, Lebanon was referred to as the "Switzerland of the East" during the 1960s, and its capital, Beirut, attracted so many tourists that it was known as "the Paris of the Middle East". At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. In spite of these troubles, Lebanon has the highest Human Development Index in the Arab world, to the exclusion of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf.
Lebanon is divided into six governorates which are further subdivided into twenty-five districts. The districts themselves are also divided into several municipalities, each enclosing a group of cities or villages.
- Wikipedia (publisher), Lebanon, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon, 21 September 2016
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