Lebanon is a largely non-functioning Republic, where three prominent offices are divided amongst the different religious groups. The President must be a Christian, the Prime Minister is a Sunni Muslim, and the Speaker of the National Assembly is a Shia Muslim. There is a unicameral National Assembly, with 128 seats and members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by majority vote. Assembly members serve 4-year terms and seats are apportioned among the Christian and Muslim denominations. In February of 2014, the current Prime Minister, Tammam Salam, a Sunni Muslim, was chosen; he is also acting President, since the Assembly has been unable to select a President.
The Hezbollah – or “Hizbullah”, meaning “The Party of God,” and sometimes using the cover name of “Islamic Jihad” – militia “has effectively taken over the Lebanese government.” Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist political party, militant group and designated terrorist organization, which was founded in the 1980’s by Iran. It was originally created to oppose Israel and the West. Hezbollah is funded by Iran, with an estimated $100- 200 million annually.