Monday, June 8, 2009

The Lebanese Elections: Begining of the End of Hezbollah Hegemony?

The Lebanese Elections: Beginning of the End of Hezbollah Hegemony?
The official results for the recent Lebanese parliamentary elections have not been announced yet. They are expected to be made public in the next 12- 18 hours. If the unofficial results, widely reported by all parties, are to hold then it is time to loose the spin and look for the real message of this electoral campaign. We could be about to experience a sea change in the governmental structure of Lebanon that will have wide ranging impact all throughout the region.
It is clear that the coalition of March 14 has prevailed. They have maintained their majority by winning, in conjunction with their allies, 71 of the 128 parliamentary seats. The victory is much bigger than what the numbers of seats reflects since these results were accomplished against the obstacles and machinations of Hezbollah, its allies in Lebanon and beyond. The Syrian President , Bashar Assad, and his Iranian counterpart, Ahmadinajad , must be quite displeased about the performance of their Lebanese agents especially that of General Aoun. This victory is so much more impressive in light of the fact that March 14 has managed to maintain its majority under two different electoral setups, 2005 and 2009. It did not seem to make much of a difference which elections system is used, March 14 just wins. The rationale for why that is so is simple and straight forward; March 14 is seen to stand for hope, decency, potential prosperity, individual liberty and above all else a firm belief in the sovereignty and independence of the Lebanese state. The opposition, on the other hand, acted as if the Lebanese state is an after thought, what matters to them were the national interests of Iranian clergy, Syrian Bath and to keep and even increase the size and sophistication of their illegal militia. This militia was used to intimidate the established legal government of Lebanon and was used to drag the country into a war it could ill afford. Furthermore, this military wing is totally financed by foreign powers and established within the country a state within a state including its own unauthorized telecommunication network. Although Hezbollah had no use or respect for the Lebanese authorities yet it asked the loyal Lebanese citizens to support its acts of weakening and dismantling whatever authority the state has. Ironically they expected the Lebanese people to participate in that destructive and undemocratic game. The rhetoric of their allies did not help either. Michel Aoun, one of Hezbollah’s main Christian allies, spent months railing against the old electoral system that he claimed robbed many from choosing their own candidates through gerrymandering electoral districts when in fact he lost in the districts that he helped create and won essentially in the districts that were gerrymandered.
The elections are over and it is time for the newly elected politicians to roll up their sleeves and form a cabinet based on democratic principles. They should waste no time in reforming the election system by adopting a non sectarian system of single districts. That is the only way to give the communities a chance to elect their own representatives and to diminish the stranglehold of the established “feudal” like power of the traditional regional leaders. It would also be very helpful to require the candidate to reside in the district in which she plans to stand for election.
Victory has its own rewards and so March 14 must insist that the majority party should govern and to give a veto power to the opposition is tantamount to desecrating the results of the elections.

1 comment:

Jude said...

If you are right and HA's expantionist plans are checked then this will be good for the whole region.


Free Blog Counter