Thursday, 27 September 2007

Presidential elections

Sami Moubayed gives a good general briefing on the Lebanese presidential elections in Asia Times.

"Lebanese politics is sharply polarized into two camps, which refuse to back down...

"One faction is headed by Saad al-Hariri, the parliamentary-majority leader who rose to fame after the assassination of his father, former prime minister Rafik al-Hariri, in 2005.

"It includes heavyweights from the Sunni community, like Prime Minister Fouad al-Siniora, the Christian community, including former warlord Samir Gagegea and ex-president Amin Gemayel, and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.

"Most of this team (with the exception of Gagegea and Gemayel) were once loudly pro-Syrian. They worked with and legitimized the Syrian military presence in Lebanon throughout the 1990s.

"As long as the Syrians continued to support and reward them with government office, they remained pro-Syrian. All of them, including Jumblatt and Siniora, were ministers under Rafik Hariri, during the Syrian heyday in Lebanon."

Photo: Election posters of Free Partiotic Movement leader (and presidential hopeful) Micheal Aoun are defaced by supporters of the right wing Lebanese Forces. Posters of Bashir Gemayel, who was killed by a missive bomb in 1982, are eveywhere in Christian east Beirut. However the pro-resistance FPM still enjoys popular support from a majority of Lebanese (Christian and Muslim).

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