Monday, June 20, 2005

Lebanon's last laugh 

Syria is seeing the second defeat in the last 6 months at the hands of the Lebanese: this time, in the Lebanese Election. The Anti-Syrian alliance is claiming victory, and the Washington Post is reporting a total victory in all 28 seats from Northern Lebanon (Subscription Requried):
Interior Minister Hassan Sabei declared opposition candidates had won all 28 seats in north Lebanon in Sunday's polling, the fourth and final round of the country's elections. He read out the results seat by seat, confirming earlier predictions from the opposition alliance.

The Times is a little more reserved in its predictions, claiming at least 21 of the 28 seats.
An anti-Syrian alliance that tried to bridge religious lines and was led by Mr. Hariri's son, 35-year-old Saad Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, won at least 21 of 28 contested seats in northern Lebanon, the last polling area in the elections that have been staggered over the past four weekends. That gave the alliance a majority in the next 128-seat Parliament.

It was a startling change in the way politics have usually been carried out here - along strict clan and religious lines and long under the control of Syria - and perhaps an example of a greater yearning for democracy in the Arab world.

This is really remarkable chain of events. On the one hand, the opposition victory is another victory over Syrian intervention and fundamentalism. At the same time, Maronite Christians harbor worries over growing Muslim political clout. There is also talk of Hariri's son, Saad Hariri, will run for the premiership. Hang out, because there will be more coverage to come on this. It is, at any rate, a victory.
Amusingly enough, on another front, looks like Al Gore is headed to Iran, 'cuz they have a recount in the works. As to whether any candidate will make much difference, well that's another post.

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