(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

Archive for June 8th, 2009

So what actually happened yesterday?

leave a comment »

So what went down yesterday? For one there was a very high voter turn out in most districts the highest in Kesrouan seeing 70%. There was minimal violence, a few scuffles and that was it.

I’ll spare you the district by district run down, but in summary M14 won very decisively in quite a few places. Decisive wins were the norm as the new smaller gerrymandered districts (compared to 2005) voting clearly behind one party or another. Of the 26 total districts only 2 saw candidates from both coalitions be elected.

Some interesting analysis:

Robert Fisk said the Christian vote wasn’t as divided as expected, and that it was the Muslims voting for M8 candidates. Although the divided Christian vote is brought up by Tony Badran on his blog Across the Bay And the Angry Arab says Fisk has gotten out of touch.

Qifa Nabki (the best you can find for Lebanon politics) provides the best post election coverage. He refutes the claim that Biden was the one who won the election.

In the Middle of the East points out that much is he same in terms of parliament composition, and the human province waxes about policies of March 14 and the future.

Some things that caught my eye

Michel Sleiman’s independent bloc didn’t come to be fruition Sleiman may still play the role of Swiitzerland, even if he doesn’t want to.

Things are peaceful, for the time being. The roads are still hauntingly quiet, as most shops and businesses have stayed closed per government orders. From my view it seems like there is a strong effort by people to maintain calm. Right now it would take a regional player like Israel or Syria to start things up again.

The Christians could hold the important vote between the Sunni and Shia in the future. If they can mobilize and vote in mass, as they kind of did after Cardinal Sfeir’s last minute announcement.

What lies ahead:

All isn’t clear for the future, as the great Qifa Nabki points out, the next issue is choosing a cabinet and prime minister. The central question is will March 14 grant March 8 a blocking 1/3 in the cabinet, like March 8 has right now. There is nothing in Lebanon’s laws and woefully ambiguous Doha agreement that requires this happening, BUT the opposition could demand it and cause a stir if they don’t receive it. Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has a speech tonight at 8:30 where he could demand just that.

Written by stephenddockery

June 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Victory for March 14

leave a comment »

Looks like I was wrong when I called a March 8 victory yesterday. Although it looks like M8 will win seats in Jbeil and Koura _Sound like Koura is going 3-0 for March 14_ (where I covered), it looks as if M14 could win both seats in Batroun, and overall March 14 picked up the seats they need. Hariri has announced his win, which has gone uncontested by the opposition.

The lede I had on my story for the paper was about how many Aoun, Marada and Hezbollah supporters there were on the street, but it looks as if March 8 just has more exuberant supporters while M14 are laid low and voted heavily. Heres a good wrap by Abu Muqawama, counter insurgency and Middle East expert at CNAS.

Also a fun set of pictures from the blog Blacksmiths of Lebanon, it seemed like everyone had flags waving out the back of their cars.

Written by stephenddockery

June 8, 2009 at 7:17 am