Monday, August 6, 2007

Will the real Christian leader please stand up?

Now that the Interior Ministry has released the final voting count for the Metn, it has become clear that Aounist Camille Khoury has won. Interesting enough, neither Nahar, nor Tayyar (!), nor the Daily Star found this piece of info worthwhile enough to mention the morning after at 7:30 AM. Luckily, CNN does a better job.

So there we are: Michel Aoun has won the Metn elections with 39,534 against 39,116 votes acording to the press release of the Minister of Interior. A difference of 418 votes, or half a percent difference. Regardless, the victory is Aoun's and despite all the sympathy that went out to the opponent Amin Gemayel for succeeding his murdered son, the Metn people have preferred Aoun.

Gemayel has already announced to contest the outcome, especially the handling of voting boxes in the Armenian polling stations. My advice would be to get over it and to accept the outcome of the democratic elections. Especially the complaint from March 14 circles that Aoun has had bus loads of voters brought in from Syria sound either naive or hypocritical since the March 14 were always in favor of giving Lebanese residing abroad the right to vote. So don't complain to see your wish come true.

Cynics will say that Aoun got his victory thanks to the support of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party, the pro-Syrian politician Michel Murr and the pro-Syrian Armenian party Tachnaq. Supporters of Aoun, however, would say that he is able to reach out to other parties, even to erstwhile enemies whereas March 14 candidate Gemayel was unable or unwilling to form such alliances.

Much has been speculated about the reasons why March 14 has called out for this election. Looking back one can only note that it has not been the best decision possible: Amin Gemayel has lost face and his chances for a political return (some even speculated of him running for president) are pretty much decimated for the time being.

Like Michael Young wrote in his latest column, these elections have weakened the Christian community. The question arises why no one has foreseen that it would. Was March 14 really thinking Michel Aoun wouldn't have the guts to launch a counter candidate? Or forget about 'guts' even, he was fully in his rights to do so and right up his alley since he is always rallying against the system of 'family politics' in Lebanon where seats stay within families and newcomers hardly have a chance to enter the political arena. Knowing all of this, who couldn't have known that he wouldn't run?

The elections could have been a ploy to weaken Michel Aoun before the presidential elections, assuming that March 14 expected him to lose moral credibility if he would run and that he would lose subsequently. While the first objective was achieved according to many Christians (going against the patriarch is a sure way to go), the second goal was missed. In fact, this can be enough to compensate the loss in moral standing.

The Christians who voted for him will feel vindicated, while others might give Aoun the benefit of the doubt next time...oh...let's say in a few weeks when the presidential elections take place. All in all, this whole election was not a smart move of March 14. The argument of March 14 to have by elections after Walid Edo was killed, sounded plausible at the time, yet now we know different.
Lawyers use to say that you should never ask a witness a question unless you know the outcome. Politicians should never organize optional elections unless they know the results as well.


Christine said...

You wrote an interesting analysis, thank you. What you forgot is that March 14 has done the elections on purpose to weaken the Christians. The people laughing are the sunnis in march 14!!!

La Lebanessa said...

hey!!! you forgot to mention us Beirutis had elections too, why is everyone ignoring us? :)

christine: that is a really bigoted racist statement you have just wrote. My only advice to people like you is to go out and actually meet a few of the rest of us Lebanese, instead of limiting yourself to only your narrow circle of like minded-friends. You may be surprised and find you like us very much, we're quite nice actually, if I may say so myself.

Salem said...

One thing slipped from your analysis and went (probably?) unnoticed.
IMVHO, the most important thing in the Metn elections, happened after Michel Aoun went to announce the results.
Amine Gemayel, and in a flagrant rascist bigotry, debunked his "ultra-nationalist-fascism" by lashing out on the Armenian community in Metn, an essential component in the rich melting-pot called Metn.
The armenian Tashnag party has always backed the Gemayel feodal family in all their electoral campaigns and guaranteed their victory many times from the early seventies, and yet, this sore loser found no shame in calling one of the largest christian communities in Metn "intruders" in the Lebanonese fabric.
If Amine Gemayel would have said that in a European country or in the US, he would have been lynched like Imus.
If it shows anything, it's the political clumsiness (sister of ignorance) of this inheriter of political public officeS and party supreme feodal leader.
Antoine Ghanem, a phalanx party member and prominent figure since the early sixties, member of the polit-buro and phalanx member of parliement will never acheive party leadership or anything even closer to that just because he's not from the "family" , "El-Gemayel" family.
this tells you a thing or two about the hierarchy in the phalanx party and in the stone-aged mentality of their sectarian, racist, fascist (and i'm not exaggerating) leader.
The F14 lost all support from the Armenian community in Lebanon, and things will not end here.
For those who doesn't know the history of the Armenians in Lebanon, google it...
For those who doesn't know the history of the Gemayels in Lebanon, google it...