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Lebanon votes – or not

May 29th, 2005 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Beirut has started voting, in the first election without Syrian troops for 30 years. Except that half of Beirut wont be voting at all. All of the candidates withdrew to give Sa’ad Al-Hariri, son of murdered Rafiq, a clear run.

It was Rafiq’s murder in February that forced the hasty Syrian troop withdrawal, and focussed international attention on today’s vote.

Syrian troops must withdraw – said Bush and Chirac – so that Lebanon can have its first free and fair vote.

But then all of Sa’ad’s rivals in 9 areas of Beirut withdrew. They had cut deals with Sa’ad’s Future Party to share the trappings of power with him, in return for giving him a clear run. They also got a refund on their registration fee. They’ve crowned Sa’ad the new Prime Minister.

Cynicism has replaced optimism. Neither free, nor fair.

So much hope, so much expectation, and before the Lebanese people could open their mouths, the politicians have imposed Sa’ad on Lebanon. Welcome to Arab democracy.

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Catherine // May 29, 2005 at 1.17 pm

    Maybe but still there are elections (not those with a result of 99 % like in Lebanon’s neigboring countries) and there are quite free and daring media and newspappers there..Almost uncomparable with the media in most other arab neigbors, and the street there is alive : It did want to, and dared to..go on massdemonstrations on street, also something that is risking your life in many other places. Sa’ad is taking dvantage of his father’s reputation, popularity and fresh memory of the lebanses..But it’s not the same! they won’t have the same president there reelected over and over again untill he dies and then the same family “inherting” absolut power and presidency forever. And the opposition has their own newspappers and election campagin freely..Opposition in most arab neigboring places can’t even dream of that!
    Yes it’s not perfect in Lebanon, it’s sectarian..(But when itcomes to sectarianism it’s worse in other places), but it’s still, no doubt, a whole world better than most other arab countries!

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