Across the Bay

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Breaking News: Aoun Headed for Upset Win

No sooner had I finished my earlier post, that I read the news that Aoun is headed for an upset victory. As Abdallah Iskandar noted in the piece quoted in the post below, this election was going to determine "sizes." Aoun has now managed to present himself as a true wildcard. They can no longer ignore him in Parliament, regardless of his electoral alliance with Arslan. What that will mean for the Bristol opposition's Parliamentary majority, Hizbullah's weapons, and Lahoud's ouster, also remains to be seen.

Update: Aoun's FPM website has a breakdown of the vote count so far. I looked at the Baabda-Alley results so far, and it's a very interesting picture. Aoun, it seems as of yet, did not sweep the list. He apparently is breaking through Jumblat's allied list. The greatest upset would be Arslan's possible breakthrough. Two Maronites from the Aoun-Arslan list, one of them from Aoun's FPM, also broke through. The rest (8 in total) are from Jumblat's list, including the LF Edmond Naim, Amin Gemayyel's Phalangist Antoine Ghanem, and Future Movement's Greek Orthodox candidate, Antoine Andraos. The Democratic Gathering's Henry Helou is winning one of the Maronite seats.

In the Shouf, Jumblat's list is winning all but one Maronite seat that's going to the Aounist, Mario Aoun. That region has no Shiite candidates.

The Christian opposition's greatest defeat however seems to be in the Matn region. All but one seat, Pierre Gemayyel, are going to Aoun's list. The real misfortune there is that the insufferable Michel Murr and his Armenian ally Hagop Pakradounian, are winning. But also, presidential hopeful Nassib Lahoud is losing.

Zahle (Bekaa) is truly where Aoun's alliance with Elias Skaff is sweeping votes. So far, everyone ahead is on this list. Also, Aoun's list is currently ahead in all the slots in Keserwen-Jbeil.

The voter turnout in the mainly Christian area of Keserwen-Jbeil is said to have reached 60%, dwarfing Beirut and the South.

Let's see how all this looks by tomorrow.

Update 2: According to An-Nahar, Aoun-Arslan didn't break through in Baabda-Aley. So apparently Hizbullah kept their promise. We'll have to wait for tomorrow's official results.

Jumblat is pissed and claimed this a loss for Christian moderation, and threw a nasty jab that this was a replay of Syrian intervention in 1976, which claimed to be on behalf of Christians, but then never left. He also made the curious claim that the Syrians will now try to regain control over Lebanon through selling out Hizbullah and its weapons to the Americans. And that they (namely Bashar and Lahoud) cunningly brought in Aoun to specifically target Hizbullah. Incendiary stuff. He's pissed. Yet, the Shouf went all to him, and apparently so did Baabda-Aley (we're not sure if one candidate of the Aoun list managed to break through or not), and his coalition list won in the western Bekaa-Rashaya (kicking out two really annoying pro-Syrians, Elie Ferzli and Abdel-Rahim Mrad). And it seems that Zahle eventually showed a breakthrough for Nicholas Fattoush, backed by the Bristol opposition, which spoiled Aoun-Skaff's sweep.

But if this is a signal from Jumblat, it's not a good one, because it means that he'll go deeper into the Amal-PoG camp to try to get what he wants. Ghassan Tueni is taking a more balanced position, seeing the dynamism of this round (not seen anywhere else) as good for Lebanese democracy, and in one sense, he is right. Aound also sounded conciliatory and said he won't isolate anyone, but he won't be isolated either. Let's see what happens.