Think Of That: June 2005

Think Of That

Some things to think about

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Location: Lebanon

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

After The Elections

      In a surprising turn of events two weeks ago, the Free Patriotic Movement’s election candidates (including General Aoun) won 15 (22 21 with its allies) of the 58 seats contested in Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley. In another surprise last Sunday, Aoun and his allies lost all 28 seats against the coalition of Saad Hariri’s Tayyar Al Mustaqbal with the Lebanese Forces. What I saw these weeks was really not what I expected before the elections. I realized that the FPM has managed to obtain a huge base of supporters among the Christians but not among Muslims especially after both the Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, Sheikh Mohammed Rachid Kabbani and the Mufti of Tripoli and the North, Sheikh Taha Sabounji, declared their support for Hariri’s list and were imitated by many imams in the mosques of Tripoli (I suppose Hariri’s stay in a hotel in Tripoli days before the elections and spending some cash has achieved its goal). I will not get into the details of the elections as what is done is done and nothing will change the result even if it’s not up to the expectations of many.
The new parliament will be represented as follows:
  • 72 deputies representing the Tayyar Al Mustaqbal/Jumblat’s PSP/Lebanese Forces/Quornet Shahwan coalition.
  • 21 deputies representing General Aoun’s FPM and allies.
  • 35 deputies representing Amal and Hizballah.
What this parliament is expected to accomplish in the next few weeks?
  • Elect a new Speaker of the Parliament. (Hopefully not Berri).
  • Elect a new Prime Minister. (Hopefully not Saad Hariri).
  • Issue a better election law.
  • Decide to keep or get rid of Lahoud.
  • Free Samir Geagea.
And a bit later
  • Disarm Hizballah. (I’m very curious to see how…)
  • Get rid of the corruption. (I’m very optimistic here…)
  • Hopefully reduce the national dept. (Too optimistic…)
  • Hopefully take a stand against the nationalization of Palestinians in Lebanon.(Critical)

Will this new parliament be able to accomplish all these goals or will the new deputies follow on the footsteps of their predecessors? I’ll be watching… and blogging.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Assassination

In the midst of a huge power struggle over the number of parliamentary seats each bloc will claim after the election, a leading journalist and writer was assassinated today, in broad daylight, in Ashrafieh. Samir Kassir, a columnist at the An-Nahar newspaper and a university professor, was a staunch anti-Syria campaigner and has long spoken out against Syria’s occupation of Lebanon.

But what happened after the assassination was something almost equally sickening: Election candidates and last-minute opposition advocates taking advantage of this heinous crime to back their electoral campaign and hold their political foes accountable for this act. Typical Lebanese politicians’ behavior. I would gladly want to see Lahoud resign or even thrown in jail but not before guaranteeing an adequate substitute, elected by a free parliament. And what about Nabih Berri? Here he is, running for the elections and probably hoping to remain the Speaker of the Parliament!?!?!?

All things considered, I’m disgusted by this whole situation. The memory of March 14th is being used as an electoral campaign slogan and stripped of its real value. For most candidates, all what matters is getting into the right bus to win the elections regardless of who the driver is or how much the ticket costs.