Lebanon News

Aoun's 'tsunami' in third round elections has caused an upheaval

The third round of parliamentary elections in Mount Lebanon and the Bekaa confirmed the Christian street is mobilized behind Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), whose recent victory over some of the country's key political figures has created an upheaval and brought an array of new faces to the Lebanese Parliament.

Some have described the FPM's dramatic victory which gained the electoral seats in both Kesrouan-Jbeil and northern Metn as "Aoun's tsunami."

Some observers believe Christian voters opted for the FPM because Lebanon's Christian community was in need of new leadership in Parliament to replace the Qornet Shehwan Gathering.

The Christians' choice of the FPM lists was also a response to the four-party alliance, in particular the Jumblatt-Hariri alliance, and an assertion that the Christian street refuses to be isolated or marginalized.

The FPM and the Jumblatt-Hariri alliance now share Mount Lebanon's electoral seats, with the alliance having won 19 seats and the FPM 15.

The battle was hardest fought in Baabda-Aley, where Aoun was defeated by the Unity of the Chouf electoral list due to strong Shiite and Sunni support for the list.

Observers are now waiting to see if the results of the fourth and final round of parliamentary elections in North Lebanon will be influenced by those of the third round.

Many are also now wondering whether Aoun's 'tsunami' will flood the North in the wake of the FPM alliance with Zghorta MP Suleiman Franjieh and the reconciliation Aoun forged between Franjieh and former Prime Minister Omar Karami.

Whatever the outcome of the final round of elections, a distinctly new Parliament has emerged, with the results of the Mount Lebanon elections revealing the exclusion of important figures such as MPs Nassib Lahoud, Fares Soueid, Mansour Bone, Fares Boueiz as well as marginalizing several political parties such as the National Bloc and the National Liberal Party.

Consequently, power in the new Parliament is likely to be shared by two blocs: Aoun's bloc and the Jumblatt-Hariri alliance.

Hizbullah and the Amal Movement may join Aoun's alliance to form a strong front against Hariri's opposition bloc, which will then not be able to form the Cabinet it desires.

The political conflict between these forces of change will begin next week and is likely to witness the formation of yet more new political alliances.

It may also see disagreements over the creation of a new Cabinet as some sources expect Najib Mikati to return to the Premiership for an interim period of a hundred days.

Having allowed internal political disagreements to prevent the implementation of true reform in the past, Lebanese officials now need to express their willingness to revive the country's economy.

But will the new Parliament undertake true reform and launch a genuine march toward change?





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