Elections in Koura: A Taste of the Future

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The by-election in Koura summarizes the crux of Lebanese politics. Individual voters don’t matter anymore, sects do. Sects are solidly aligned behind one leader, who is a follower of a regional or international regime, or both, as is the case of Saad Hariri.

Some sects are split, as the Maronites are, but they still vote in blocs, just as others do. The elections in Koura, however, revealed certain interesting trends. And the sectarian mix in Koura, despite the predominance of Christians, may help understand future electoral trends in the country.

The Lebanese Forces Party is one of the most organized political parties in Lebanon and Geagea’s skill in running his party seems as good as Nayef Hawatmeh skills in running the DFLP. The Party operates from a position of confidence but not over-confidence – Hezbollah paid dearly for its over-confidence in the 2009 election. The SSNP was betrayed by its allies who did not care about a candidate who was not their own. But the SSNP demonstrated that it still has muscle in its Koura stronghold.

The Sunni vote revealed troubling signs for Hariri. The Sunni turnout was lower than in 2009, and the support for the March 14 candidate was less than it was in 2009. Many Sunnis are fed up with unfulfilled promises by the Hariri family, and this partly explains the rise of the Salafi movement (or movements) in Lebanon.

There are Shia in Koura and they seem to give 100% of support for the secular candidate of SSNP, out of detestation for the Lebanese Forces.

The elections exposed the two vices of Lebanese electoral politics: sectarianism and foreign money. It is not known how much Saudi Arabia has spent in this election, but it is certain that there has been no elections in Lebanon since 2005 in which Prince Muqrin and his money were not the biggest players. There were visible signs of a richly funded campaign for the Lebanese Forces candidate, and Samir Geagea replaced his old Israeli benefactor with Saudi, Kuwaiti, and UAE sponsors.

The GCC countries distrust the leadership abilities of Saad Hariri and believe that Geagea can be useful in their Israeli-linked campaign against Hezbollah. Saudi money also helps fly back ex-pats from the Gulf or from anywhere else in the world to cast a ballot for their candidate. In this election, Iran did not bother to care for a secular candidate and the Syrian regime is bogged down in the bloody daily civil war.

They say that every vote counts, but in Lebanon the vote of the sect is the only one that really counts.

Comments

The Missed Phenomenon.

Not once, failed our eloquent writer As'ad AbuKhalil in targeting Saad Al-Haririopenly or tacitly until we are bemused! The one who brags and boasts about being “a follower of a regional or international regime, or both” is Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, not Mr. Hariri.

When Sunni voters give Mr. Hariri a “troubling sign” by changing their voting patterns that, nevertheless, is considered a healthy practice in politics: people voice their concerns through the ballots.

But when a Shia community-in AlKoura region of Lebanon-that is totally affiliated with a messianic ideology “seem to give 100% of support for the secular candidate of SSNP” is the missed phenomenon THAT DESERVES THE ATTENTION AND THE ALAYSIS OF WRITETRS OF Mr. AbuKhalil calibers!

Douri of the South,
BintJbail, Lebanon

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