Monday, June 08, 2009

Pro-West March 14 wins Lebanese Election

It was a nail biter and for a while polls made it seem that the pro-Iranian Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance would win.  However, even though a few more seats are being called it is confirmed that the pro-West March 14th group has won the 2009 Lebanese election.  Seventy seats (maybe one or two less) out of one hundred twenty-eight will go to March 14, fifty-seven to March 8, and three to independents who range from opportunists to honestly independent minded people.

This breakdown is close to the 2005 vote but it gives some seats back to March 14 that were lost due to assassinations.

Now the hard part begins.  Before the election there was a "national unity" government which was forced on Lebanon by Hezbollah's 2007 war against the March 14-led government.  The national unity government gave Hezbollah the veto option on all decisions and control of several key ministries.  March 14 may use the election results as a mandate to leave Hezbollah out of the government.  Hezbollah and their allies will threaten violence especially with they are forced to disarm (something they are required to do by the United Nations) or give up their telecommunications network (which started the last Hezbollah war).  The big factor on what happens is what the west does.  If President Obama and other Western leaders turn a blind eye like President Bush did then democracy will suffer another blow.  However, if the West backs the democratically elected government in Lebanon then the day of terrorism as a political tool will end there.  Let us all hope the latter is the case.

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