Stuck In Beirut

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Winners and Losers

In typical Lebanese fashion, both sides are claiming victory after the local elections in Maten. The actual seat went to the opposition, under the leadership of Aoun, who now claims that the people have spoken. The ruling party, represented by Jemayel, was quick to point out two things: one, the votes that gave the opposition the upper hand came from areas know for falsifying poling results and two, the majority of Maronites voted for them, not the opposition. So Jemayel is now claiming a political victory as the new representative of the Maronites. This is a key point because of its significance in the upcoming Presidential elections. Both sides now claim that they are the legitimate heir to the presidency. Both blame each other for the deep division in the Christian ranks to led to these results. So in my view, neither can claim to be of Presidential material, since that post should act first and foremost as an arbitrator and excel at bringing different people and opposing factions closer together. Furthermore, neither side really has the final say on who the new President will be. That decision lies outside of the Lebanese borders and circles of influence. That picture is still out of focus and will continue to cause heartache and lost opportunities for the Lebanese people. In the meantime, Jemayel has officially contested the results of the elections and the parliament is still closed.


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