Posted by: Lister | August 6, 2007

Lebanese by-election

Opposition wins key Lebanese poll

Overnight supporters of the two sides were separated by tanks and hundreds of troops.

The election was one of two being contested to find replacements for two murdered anti-Syrian MPs. Christian cabinet minister Pierre Gemayel was shot dead in November, and Sunni Muslim lawmaker Walid Eido was killed in a Beirut car bomb in June.

The vote to replace Mr Eido in mainly Sunni West Beirut was won easily by pro-government candidate Mohammad Amin Itani, as expected.

[…] Officials said Camille Khoury, of Mr Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, had won by just over 400 votes, or about 0.5% of the vote.

He defeated Amin Gemayel, a former president, leader of the Phalange Party, and father of the assassinated MP whose seat was up for grabs.

Before the result was announced, Mr Gemayel alleged voting irregularities and demanded a re-run in one district.

[…] President Lahoud, who is allied with the Hezbollah-led opposition, has not given the polls his blessing, and parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri has said he will not recognise the results.

Aoun and Gemayel are the main candidates for the Presidency — who has to be a Maronite Christian. The BBC article says that Aoun was once a “vocal critic” of Syria. They don’t mention that “General Michel Aoun fled in his pyjamas to the French embassy as Syrian aircraft bombed his presidential palace 15 years ago [1990]”. Before that adventure, he was Prime Minister and acting President.

More from the Robert Fisk article, where Aoun is described as having a Messiah complex.

While he claimed to be a patriot in resisting Syria, he chose not to fight Lebanon’s Israeli invaders in 1982. That was left to the Hizbollah and the Palestinians.

And also communist groups. Christians were involved, too. Robert Pape, responding to the question “are there Christian suicide terrorists?”

Not from Christian groups per se, but in Lebanon in the 1980s, of those suicide attackers, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were Communists and Socialists. Three were Christians.

Robert Fisk also wrote an article before the election results.

It all goes back to a simple equation; if the Lebanese would trust each other as much as they trust in Washington, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Damascus, London or Paris, they would be safe, but the sectarian system of politics ensures the de-confessionalisation of Lebanon would destroy the country’s identity. Thus it lives, in the constant penumbra of civil war.

Indeed, it doesn’t sound like democracy at all. Wiki – Politics of Lebanon:

The 1943 National Pact, an unwritten agreement that established the political foundations of modern Lebanon, allocated political power on an essentially confessional system based on the 1932 census. Seats in parliament were divided on a 6-to-5 ratio of Christians to Muslims, until 1990 when the ratio changed to half and half. Positions in the government bureaucracy are allocated on a similar basis. The pact also allocated public offices along religious lines, with the top three positions in the ruling “troika” distributed as follows:

— The President is required to be a Maronite Christian;
— The Prime Minister, a Sunni Muslim, and
— The Speaker of the Parliament, a Shi’a Muslim

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Responses

  1. A break down of the results from Ya-Libnan

    Gemayel, who lost Sunday’s elections with a narrow margin, said 57% of Maronite voters supported him, compared with 47% in favor of Camille Khoury, who won the race for Gen. Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement.

    […] [Gemayel] noted that Aoun’s candidate won 80% of Armenian voters, 97% of Shiite voters and 50% of Sunni voters. “These figures prove that the Muslims supported Aoun and backed his candidate,” Gemayel added.

    Of course, 57 and 47 adds up to 104. So I don’t know what happened there.


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