Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Universal Elections | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It’s difficult to tell how the final picture in Lebanon will look following the recent elections that attracted large-scale political and media attention. The elections resulted in an overwhelming victory for the March 14 Coalition and its Arab and international supporters, while the March 8 Alliance and the regional axis that this coalition represents suffered a crushing defeat.

Leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, General Michel Aoun, described the elections in Lebanon as universal elections.

This may be one of the few correct terms that General Aoun has been successful in coining, as attempts at predicting the post-electoral situation is something that Arab and non-Arab media is relentlessly trying to do, particularly due to Lebanon’s status as a battleground between the moderate and rejectionist camps in the region, and as the front line for two opposing international projects.

The international media is busy trying to understand the situation in the Middle East in the aftermath of the Lebanese elections, not to mention the Iranian elections that are taking place.

The majority of the Lebanese said that they were not happy with Hezbollah’s weapons and that May 7 was not a glorious day [as Hezbollah described it].

This is an indisputable fact, although it seems that it is difficult for the local media to distance itself from the confrontational language that prevailed in the run up to the elections. It appears that the defeated party is trying to promote the idea that Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah presented in his speech following the announcement of the electoral results, namely the claim that the March 8 Alliance won 54 percent of the popular vote.

Creating a lexicon that will incite new confrontation in the future appears to be one of the media’s roles in Lebanon. The 2005 elections were accompanied by doubts over who had won the popular vote from the opposition media which discussed the “Quadripartite Agreement” [between Walid Jumblatt, Saad Hariri, Nabih Berri, and Hezbollah] and said that the majority of Christian votes went to Michel Aoun.

Today these two issues no longer apply. Therefore the opposition media had to search for another issue so it used the issue of “the popular majority” that was raised by Hassan Nasrallah. However the 2005 issue was much more coherent than its 2009 equivalent as Christians simply voted against Michel Aoun [this time] and this will be a fact that remains fixed over the next four years.

As for condemning electoral regulations and holding this responsible for the opposition’s defeat, everybody knows that these regulations were adopted in Doha at the request of Michel Aoun. In fact Michel Aoun returned to Beirut from Doha and responded to the change in electoral regulations by saying, “Christian rights have been restored.”

The fact remains that the opposition media using the [change] in electoral regulation to explain their defeat is a kind of self-flagellation, but this must be expanded upon to include many of the positions and practices that led to the defeat. Hiding behind a fictitious victory using the slogan of a “popular majority” will never work.