If the final results are like this, it does not seem that anything has changed very much. This is reported to have been the finest election that money could buy – on both sides. pl
Votes were bought for as much as $2000 and many expatriate Lebanese received all expense paid trips to vote at home. Absentee balloting is not allowed. pl
Have any idea as to the ‘who/whom/author’ that wrote the Lebanese election outcome’s Wiki entry?
Lebanese elections have always been about sectarianism and vote buying, and besides it’s not the elected government that most counts in what goes on in the various feudal fiefs that make up “Lebanon.” Lebanon is now just another backwater.
Iran’s imminent first-round of voting is to me much more interesting and definitely much more important for the U.S. and the world. How about this for predictions: if Ahmadinejad falls, look to see a formal U.S. reconciliation with Khamenei’s Iran before 2012.
As an Iranian said to my friend when he visited Iran, “We love Americans visiting Iran, just leave your guns at home!”
It is probably the biggest relief that Hizbullah had received.
The alternative, a majority a la Hamas and the same world reaction .
The outcome so far are a fair and democratic election as far as the west is concerned .
You were right and I was wrong Colonel. The Lebanese are a “rentable class”.
The only saving grace is that its looking like the opposition actually won a greater share of the popular vote. Aint democracy grand.
I hope this election in that sad country will usher in a period that the Lebanese factions will choose elections over guns for settling their differences.
Agreed, until Hezbollah decides it needs to remind Lebanon of its “non-electoral” strength.
Two observations about the Lebanon election. First, there was a sophisticated outside intervention to tilt the vote in favor of March 14. Saudi money poured in (one estimate is that $400 million was spent to buy the election, and most was Saudi money, not Iranian or Syrian). Big vote shift factor was diaspora voters flown in, particularly to some Christian enclaves, where a half-dozen Aoun seats went to March 14, due to diaspora voters.
Also, the Der Spiegel black propaganda piece, on the eve of the election, claiming the UN had evidence that Hezbollah was behind the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, had a big impact, especially motivating the diaspora voters to take the Saudi money and plane tickets to come home to vote. Some of these people had not been back in Lebanon in 15-20 years.
Of course, other propaganda factors included interviews by Jeffrey Feltman, and threats that a Hezbollah victory would impel Israel to attack southern Lebanon again.
Second factor: I believe that internally, there was already a consensus agreement between March 14 and March 7, that there would be a national unity government, under any circumstances, for the greater good of Lebanon. Again, each time, in recent years, that the Lebanon situation came to the edge of a new civil war, sectarian leaders always stepped back from the brink to avoid another decade of disaster. There have been a lot of behind-doors talks between Hariri and the opposition, so I expect that a national unity cabinet will, indeed be announced, unless outside factors screw things up.
Nasrallah’s TV speech last night, fully accepting the election outcome (Hezbollah only ran 11 candidates, and they all won), is a further indication of this understanding.
Also, don’t miss the fact that George Mitchell is expected to arrive in Damascus within a matter of days. In the earlier talks between President Assad and Jeff Feltman and Dan Shapiro, I understand that Syria pledged not to interfere in the Lebanese elections, and they apparently kept their word (Prince Bandar, on the other hand, coordinated the Saudi cash flows and charter flights). So will the U.S. deliver on it’s end of the bargain, with the Mitchell visit, sending an ambassador, etc.?
Final note: I do not believe that you can divine the outcome of the Iran elections from the events in Lebanon. Two different dynamics, although some of the same outside interests have a large vested interest.
It has high turnout, only slight changes on overall political landscape, several new faces entering the scene, and people doesn’t shoot at each other.
6% growth. (but massive debt burden)
Overall, as long as Israel doesn’t blow up anything in Lebanon. That place is healing again.
surprisingly, Lebanon is probably where church hierarchy can sway major event. (pope, old patriarchs)