Monday, June 13, 2005

Aoun gets the last laugh!

Okay... now that the election results are out, what are the factors that made Aoun win in Keserwein with such a huge margin?

1. I've already alluded to the Maronite community's desire for a "leader," as opposed to a collection of "timid" politicians

2. The other factor could be Aoun's political machinery. The hundreds, or thousands of motivated university students (and recent graduates) probably gave Aoun a political machine that is unmatched in the Keserwein/Jbeil region.

At the moment, I can't think of any other factors that contributed to such a victory. However, the fact that the opposition could not appreciate the danger that those two factors posed to them points to political incompetence. For Jumblatt, the situation is humiliating. The man who can supposedly detect political changes brewing on M Street in Washington DC, could not really comprehend what was going on right under his nose.

I don't think any of us bloggers could have even fathomed this turn of events. But that's no excuse for Jumby... why is he up in Mukhtara if he doesn't know any better than us? The "buffoon" has made the "know-it-all" look like an idiot!

I can't but tip my hat to Aoun and the Tayyar.


aa said...

raja, i found michael young's article in today's Daily Star particularly on-the-spot, and in tune with what you're saying.
and yes, it seems our crazy general is transforming himself into a master chess player, guess 15 years in france has taught him some new moves... let's hope he knows what he's doing.

Anonymous said...

well said about Jumblat! Not to mention he's such a sore looser....

JoseyWales said...

For Jumblatt, the situation is humiliating

What about the Kornet Chehwan guys? Pathetic, Kesrwan and the rest was their own constituency, and they were there the last 15 years, not in Paris. Shades of the snotty French elites and the NO vote on the EU.

why is he [Jumblat] up in Mukhtara if he doesn't know any better than us?

Because of his last name, no other reason.

Lebanese Meze said...

Or, Aoun followed the script masterfully drawn up by his string holders. Or, I'm completely wrong and he is a true leader who has a real knack for politicking. I certainly hope it’s the latter. No doubt there will be plenty to discuss in blogespheres for the next four years. Let’s just hope all 128 have the right intentions in bringing the country together to tackle the major issues facing us.

Anonymous said...

What's Auon's stance on Hizbullah keeping its weapons?

Anonymous said...

First of all, to answer anonymous' question, Aoun has repeatedly called for the disarmament of Hizbullah; that may nick him in the butt. Anyways, I have never written in any bloggers befor, but I have been reading mostly everyone comments for the past 3 weeks or so. I just cannot beleive how many people in this blogger have eaten crow after Aoun's sweeping, and surprising victory. I remember when there were a couple of people constantly defending the General while others did nothing but bash him and repeatedly stating how he will be eliminated when the elections prove his minimal and non-exiting support. Well people; he proved you wrong and I think that he will be a force to reckon with. Whether that's a good thing or not; but he is the undisputed leader of the christins in Lebanon, and that's a huge feat.

Roya said...

Excuse me for crashing the party, but until Aoun actually does (something besides haphazard bombardment in a futile war), I do not see any reason for jubilation. It is one thing being a principled person in exile and another thing being a politician in Lebanon. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last that someone achieves victoy riding on the reform ticket. Actual reform is another ballgame altogether.

The Sandmonkey said...

Ok, so let me get this straight, Aoun wins 21 seats, and it's a victory. The Harriri Jumblatt alliance wins 27 seats, which with the other 19 gives them a 46 seats in parliament, and they conceeded defeat.

Am I the only one who finds this whole thing confusing? Can someone explain to me what the Jubilation is all about? I mean, all that Harriri needs now is 19 seats out of the remaining 28 seats (which he should get) and his alliance would have a majority in parliament, something Aoun would never be able to do. If he is elected because the Christians needed a leader, shouldn't they have chosen someone who could get them what they need instead of someone more inetrested in his own eprsonal glory? The man has alienated all the syrian opposition people with his rhetoric, and is now in an alliance with Pro-syrians, which makes him look bad as it is. What's he counting on to advance his agenda if the Harriri people sweep in the last round of elections? The support of Hezballah? Like they would support him?

So,Raja, can you please explain to me what Last laugh are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

dear sandmonkey
without aoun , u would have in the new parliement a bloc of hariri- jumblatt where they can take all the decisions. now , we can hope that aoun with his new alliances and with a change in some hariri allies (LF, kataeb) can break this bloc and get the one third of the new parliements a way , the minorities in the parliement can say no to a decision.

Raja said...


you make some very good arguments. however, the reason I say Aoun got the "last laugh" is that Hariri and Jumblatt assumed that he was a much weaker player, and could not get as many seats as he eventually did. Think about it... Aoun and his alliance wiped out the entire Qornet Shewan group. They sweeped three regions: Jbeil/Keserwein, Metn and Zahle; and even did so in landslides. If Jumblatt and Hariri had kept Aoun in the Opposition by conceding to more of his demands, they would have been able to save at least some of the Qornet Shehwan members and prevented the rise of their bitter rivals (i.e. Murr and Franjieh, among others).

Going back to what you said however, the victory is not all great. Aoun does have a minority in parliament - it is even smaller if you count those who are actually Tayyar, as opposed to MPs who are part of the alliance. So it remains to be seen whether Aoun can get his program implemented, and how much of a say he really has in matters. Remember though, in Lebanon, parliamentary seats don't necessarily translate into power in any proportionate sense. Hizballah, for example, is a much more powerful player than their parliamentary seats will lead you to believe. In the same sense, Aoun's power might be disproportionate to the few seats he has, assuming he will continuously be perceived as the "Maronite Za'im."

On that note, let me say the following: Aoun has always sold himself as a "secular" leader... that persona will be very dificult to revive after these elections.

Patrick said...

> Aoun has always sold himself as a "secular" leader... that persona will be very dificult to revive after these elections.

Just as, after the alliance with Murr the anti-corruption presonna will be as difficult to revive.

IMHO those two losses are not worth the few extra seats.

Unless he can still redeem himself somehow.

Patrick said...

Also maybe, just maybe the shatterring of the secular leader image is only a result of the Jumblat & future TV portrait of his alliances.

Maybe at the end of the day he did get the overwhelming majority of the shi3a votes in Jbeil, and is making alliances with the Arslany druze and the Karami Sunnies they just don't have TV stations to tell us how secular that makes him :-)

Maybe if he had taken the Jumblat deal and accepted a few christian deputees he would have been as cornered in this regard.

Maybe I am just over analysing a lost cause?

Raja said...


Maybe we're taking too much credit away from the voters, and giving it to Aoun. Aoun might want to be a secular leader and be really sincere about it, but ultimately, it is the voters who decide. Aoun might also think that the reason he beat Qornet Shehwan was his "program" (something he actually said), but that really doesn't seem to be why he wiped Qornet Shehwan off the political map in Lebanon. The Maronite voters wanted a strong leader, and their votes made Aoun exactly that (irrespective of his personal opinion on the matter).

As for his alliances with people like Arslan, Karami, and others from other sects, I disagree with your assessment. Allying with a za'im from another sect just so that you get votes from that sect, indicates that you would not get those votes otherwise! Is that Aoun's fault? Partially. He did a terrible job at winning voters from other sects and the results in Ba'abda Alley prove that. Of course it is also the fault of the Lebanese voter, who in most cases votes according to sectarian lines, but again, I don't think Aoun's rhetoric prior to the election really helped in that domain.

We'll have to watch and see how the Tayyar will perform in the North. Franjieh and Karame are the only two politicians with established political machines in the North. If the enthusiasm of Aoun’s movement is added to the mix, such a triumvirate may turn out to be a very potent force. On the other hand, Hariri, LF and the remaining Qornet Shehwan members have seen what happened in Mt. Lebanon, and are most likely preparing as much as they can – how much they can prepare is yet to be seen. If there’s anything I can be sure about, it is that the North might very well witness the largest turn-out yet.

Caline said...


You are not battling a lost cause, but it is hard for us not to be annoyed when Aon allies with pro-syrians, corrupted people, and plays the Christian card (like calling for boycotting the beirut elections because of the 2000 law). Three things that were the antithesis of his previous rhetoric.
(not to mention the hypocrisy of calling for boycott one weekend and not the other)

Caline said...

And by the way Patrick, a lot of us are not being biased by the media but rather drawing our conclusions from discussions with people on why they want to vote for Aon "what? you want to let the muslims rule the country??" and based on the super-christian-concentrated areas where Aon actually had following and had a chance in the election.

And just for the record, I am also not biased against the Christians, being one of them.

Doha said...


It's actually a bit sad what you're claiming; it's almost as if the 14th March uprising was a farce, a myth at best.

Caline said...

No Doha...It was not a farce. But change can not happen overnight. We have come a long way: a free election and open discourse. Plus, as sandmonkey said, the opposition IS winning so far. So let us be optimistic and hope that once the elctions are over things turn out better than we are projecting.

Anonymous said...

I guess you're simply right (as you often are :p)

I mean no disrispect to anyone's thinking ability, actually in the "TV media" post I was talking about my own previous post :-)
I was thinking loud wondering if maybe earlier perception was tainted by the media ... But Raja was ready to show me wrong.

What do you mean by in your last comment ... a farce?

Syria is out and will not be back anytime soon.
The inspectors are here looking for the TRUTH!
The democratic life is back!
Isn't that what March 14th was about ?


Caline said...


I apologize, I did not realize you had written the previous post. I misunderstood your tone, and that you were trying to give Aon a chance although you agree it is pretty difficult. I guess we all agree it is almost impossible!

Preaching to the choir is just wonderful!

Anonymous said...

No apology needed.

Also another clarification:
The lost chance I was specifically talking about is Aoun becoming a secular leader.
I also doubt he will be doing much about mou7esabet el fased of the past few years by the way.

But if you want I can leave the choir.

there I still have not given up on many things.
I think his pro-Syrian aliances are not as relevant as others beleive they are. (but unfortunately his Murr alliance is)
I beleive good things can and will come out of his victory, as I did not like Jumblat's willingness to cut a deal with Berry in order to remove Lahoud before or during the elections.
I do not beleive this victory will turn out to be the victory of the radical over the moderate event though the victory itself might have been caused by radicalism.

I am all for giving him and Saad a chance at work before we can really judge either of them

A last point on the Berri La7oud thingy:
I want both la7oud and Berry out.
I would personnaly consider it a loss if La7oud leaves today and Berri stays for another ten years.
In my mind any day is as good to get rid of la7oud but there is only one shot at Berri other wise we are stuck with him for another 4 years and maybe more.

I really donnow which is worse!
The idea that Aoun might have made a deal with Lahoud or Jumblat with Berri.
I just hope both are just wrong speculations.

How bout that for preaching/argument material ?


Anonymous said...

> If he is elected because the Christians needed a leader,
> shouldn't they have chosen someone who could get them what they
> need instead of someone more inetrested in his own eprsonal glory?

I think you should notice there were no two leaders to chose from there was a leader vs a coalition of people running together (One could argue a bad leader versus a good coalition of people but still , only one leader)

I donnow how that need for leadership problem could have been tackled, maybe if jumblat & hariri had put all of kornet shehwat in a room, agreed randomly on someone decent ... I donnow, Nassib la7oud, Boutrous 7arb ... Maybe the guy they all had in mind for president after La7oud (they had someone in mind, right? they were taking the president down last monday) and told him: you da man , Go lead the opposition's "Nassib La7oud's Opposition List in Jabal Lebnan or something" then the christians would have had a choice between two leaders.

But again the need for leadership was only one of the factors. It is possible that even with a strong opposing leader Aoun would stil have gotten the upper hand.

The FPM have been insisting in every single TV talk show since day one (even before Aoun came back) that they have been doing statistics on the ground and all numbers were showing they can get a real decent block in the parliment (cf for example Al istihkak with Ghattas Khoury vs Joubran Bassil)
But it seems Jumblat thought it was a bluff to get more seats in the negotiations and called them on it ... they folded .. he lost (the 20 seats on the table)!


Caline said...

You can stay in the choir. At least you are thinking about things :)

As sad as it may seem that the opposition would have needed to assign a Christian leader for their list in the metn, it would probably have been a great idea.

Caline said...

On the other hand...
The beauty of the qornet shihwain coalition is that they have no leader and meet at a round table. Do we want to compromise that? Not sure... We will leave compromising ideals for others...