Posted by Joshua on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Addendum: (My first numbers are wrong. They were hastily taken from a reader. A more correct number is a 9% win for the opposition in the popular vote, not 15% as I first reported. Here is a smart account by “B-side Beirut.” shooting blanks and the popular vote:
According to a study cited by al-Akhbar (bottom of the page), the opposition received 54.5% of the popular vote, whereas the ruling coalition received 45.5%. I find it funny that the total adds up to 100%. As far as I know, we have not succumbed to the two-party system yet and there was a visible amount of votes cast for people not running on either lists, especially in Hizballah and Amal’s backyards.
Now I am no professional, but here are the numbers I got when, instead of taking the voters as blocks of with or against, I added the total number of votes cast for the total number of candidates in three categories: opposition 50.4%, ruling coalition 46%, and other 3.6%. I only did the numbers once and I might have missed an affiliated independent or two, but not any with a considerable number of votes attached.
(Original Post) The popular vote in Lebanon favored the opposition by roughly 15%, but due to the vagaries of Lebanon’s electoral system, March 14 won. Aoun will speak today. Syria and Hizbullah have conceded gracefully.
These are the official numbers of the June 2009′ Elections
Friday Lunch Club.
The aggregate averages of voters in each district in Lebanon, shows that the ‘losers’ got 54.8% of the total votes (839,371 votes) and the ‘winners’ racked up 45.2% of the votes (692,285 votes).
Damascus- Syrian Arab news agency ( SANA ) quoted Presidential Political and Media Adviser Bouthaina Shaaban on Tuesday as saying “the Lebanese elections are an internal Lebanese matter” and said she expressed ‘Syria’s satisfaction over the safe and stable course of the elections.’
Shaaban underlined in a statement Syria’s concern for the” unity, stability and prosperity of Lebanon, and its readiness to help it in all fields to attain these goals.” SANA reported
Shaaban added according to SANA “Syria encourages the spirit of reconciliation shown by all the Lebanese parties, hoping that it will be turned into tangible steps through the national program in the coming phase.”
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah delivered a graceful concession speech on TV Monday in which he admitted defeat ‘with sportsmanship and democratic spirit’ , congratulated his opponents and confirmed the acceptance of the election results.
Nasrallah uttered one sentence that effectively left the door open for challenging the entire democratic process. The Hizbullah leader drew a distinction between what he called a “parliamentary majority” and a “popular majority,” thereby indicating that although the March 14 alliance won the elections, they failed to earn the loyalty of a majority of citizens.
Nasrallah is right on this score: The numbers show that the opposition garnered over 100,000 more votes than March 14 did on election day. But the electoral law gave greater weight to votes in some districts than it did to those in others.
This might make for a useful piece of ammunition in Hizbullah’s arsenal of arguments were it not for one thing: All of the parties, including Hizbullah, agreed to the rules of the game in advance. In fact, the law that was used to govern this year’s parliamentary elections was agreed to during negotiations that took place in Doha after the May 2008 clashes. Hizbullah, having demonstrated its superior military prowess during those street battles, could have tried to force a different electoral arrangement, but the party chose not to. There can be no turning back on that agreement now.
Lebanon feels the Obama effect
by Simon Tisdall
9 June 2009, Guardian Unlimited
The pro-west coalition’s narrow win in Beirut is the first indication that the US president’s Middle East message is being heard
Foreign policy experts and commentators have been trying to elucidate an “Obama doctrine” ever since the new US president took office. Lebanon’s surprise election result, in which a pro-western coalition narrowly triumphed, suggests these analysts have got things the wrong way round. Whatever the theory may be, the Beirut turnabout is the first, circumstantial evidence of a tangible “Obama effect” in the Middle East. It could be catching.
It would be fanciful to claim that Obama’s bridge-building speech to the Muslim world in Cairo last week, attractive though it was, crucially influenced Lebanese voters. But the calmer, unconfrontational tone adopted by Washington on Middle East issues since George Bush trudged home to Texas appears to have struck a chord in a country that was teetering on the brink of sectarian civil war one year ago.
Pre-election visits by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, and Joe Biden, the US vice-president, underscored the importance that Obama attached to the poll. Some resented these interventions as unwarranted interference. But many Lebanese, particularly the nearly 40% of the population that is Christian, seem to have approved of Washington’s increased engagement; and to have heard its implicit message that a vote for Hezbollah and its allies would be a backwards step.
That refrain was underscored by exaggerated claims that Hezbollah and its Tehran backers, if further empowered, would turn Lebanon into a second Gaza. And if that was not enough, an eve-of-poll demarche by Boutros Sfeir, spiritual leader of the country’s Maronite Christians, may have done the trick. He warned the country was in danger. It was clear from whom he believed the danger emanated.
By giving the nod to Saad Hariri and his 14 March bloc of Sunni Muslim, Druze and Christian parties, which won 71 parliamentary seats against 57 for the opposition, Lebanon has provided Obama with his first significant regional policy success. The result is a setback for Iran, which has sought enhanced influence via Hezbollah. And it confirmed Lebanon’s 2005 rejection of Syria as the master manipulator of its affairs, confounding suggestions that Damascus was inching back.
The results are also a boost for western-leaning Arab regimes, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, that helped prevent Lebanon falling into the abyss after the assassination of Hariri’s father, the former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, and the subsequent, disastrous Hezbollah-Israel war of 2006. Saudi Arabia’s rapprochement with Syria, and a parallel warming of ties between Syria and the US, will be all the easier to pursue as a result of Sunday’s election.
Syria’s 2008 Inflation Rate: Jihad Yazigi reports a correction: Syria’s inflation rate stood at 15.15 percent, and not 5.4 percent, last year the Central Bureau of Statistics said. Read
From Thomas Dine – via the Pulse and FLC
Since the Obama Administration came into office in January, it has approached the Syrian regime with a certain coolness and caution. … Today, the U.S. sees Syria as promoter and supporter of terrorism, host of the leaderships of Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. In brief, the prospects of coming off the official terrorist list in the near future are nil. Syria has covertly tried to develop supplies for if not its own nuclear weaponry, accused again by the IAEA of such activity this weekend. Syria, according to American forces, continues to support anti-American violence in Iraq and thus a delegation of military officials to discuss joint efforts to shut off Arab and other insurgents operations inside Iraq is a necessity. Friction between Syria and Lebanon is an ongoing concern, and the election results will not ease the strain in American and Saudi views of Syrian activity and influence inside Lebanon’s body politique. Achieving respectful behavior toward Beirut is a problem on which the Americans remain greatly concerned and focused.
Syria Declares Emergency For Drought-hit Northeast: Authorities “have begun to distribute food aid in the worst drought-affected regions in the northeast” as part of a series of emergency steps. “Nearly 5,200 food rations have been distributed in Al-Hasakah and 15,000 more rations will arrive in the next few days,” said provincial governor Najib Salloum. He added that each food ration comprised 150 kilograms of flour, 25kg sugar, 25kg semolina, 10kg lentils, 2kg animal fat, 1kg tea, and 1kg oil, distributed to the worst-affected families.