Saturday, January 12, 2008

Cracks showing in Aoun’s party?

Deputy Elie Skaff has denied the rumors about a possible split between Michel Murr & the Armenians and party leader Michel Aoun. These rumors could start because of Murr’s wavering support for Aoun, mostly triggered by the way Aoun has treated Murr recently and which were further substantiated by Murr’s TV appearance during which he openly complained about Aoun.

Core of the aggravation originated during the recent Metn election to appoint the successor of Pierre Gemayel who was murdered in November 2006. Murr, who was already affiliated with Aoun, logically sided with him and the Armenians against Gemayel. However, many Christians took offense at the fact that Murr was even contesting the seat of the killed Gemayel since there is an unwritten rule that the seat would be refilled by Pierre Gemayel’s party or family without elections. The fact that the Armenians also turned against Gemayel didn’t help much for Murr’s image among Christians.

Yet, Murr was loyal enough to stand by Aoun and thanks to his support, Aoun’s party won the by elections in the Metn. To his and many people’s surprise, however, Aoun made up with Gemayel some time later. So here we have Murr losing popularity by supporting Aoun in his fight against Gemayel, only to find the same Aoun being best buddies again. To add, Murr was not invited to the reconciliation meeting and in fact, didn’t even know about this meeting until it took place.

Suffice to say, political dinosaur Murr felt left out by political parvenu Aoun. In return for this affront, Murr started to distance himself from Aoun. Obviously, the party of Aoun is denying any rumor to this extent. In fact, Elie Skaff even went so far as to deny that the party, and not only individual Murr, was working on a way to break with Aoun.

These are still rumors but once they trigger such explicit denials, one is easily forgiven for thinking they must be true.