Worried Lebanese

thought crumbs on lebanese and middle eastern politics

Staging the Metn elections – 3

Posted by worriedlebanese on 04/09/2007

1.jpegKamil Khoury won the Metn elections by a difference of 418 votes. Former Lebanese President, son of the head of Lebanon’s former largest party and father of the slain MP Pierre Gemayel lost with a difference of 418 votes to FPM candidate Kamil Khoury. These are the facts and figures, but they didn’t please most journalists and political analysts. They looked for other figures to reverse the interpretation. Little did they care about what the voters thought. No survey was done to see why the voters had voted in such a manner. What analysts and journalists wanted to do is make the “figures speak” and they knew exactly what they wanted them to say. The first thing they did was look at the confessional distribution of votes, and they deduced the popularity of the candidate among this confessional group. Then they started comparing figures, in abstracto, removing all contextual elements or reinterpreting them to fit their analysis.  In Bekfaya, the Gemayel clan declared its victory and started receiving guests congratulating them for the victory of Amin Gemayel. Some politicians even accused the Armenian voters of being un-Lebanese because they had insured the victory of Kamil Gemayel.

The analysis I heard on TV or read in the papers were all appalling, but I think the worst was published by the Orient Le Jour and written by a journalist called Fayad (I forgot his Christian name). He compared the last two Metn bi-elections saying that in 2002 there were two sides, on one side there was the March 14 alliance and the FPM, and on the other side there was Murr-Tashnag-Syrian Nationalists. And the results were almost 50/50. In 2007, there FPM switched sides and the results remain 50/50. This analysis  left the reader to deduce that the FPM had  in fact no electoral weight.

People will argue that this kind of analysis was triggered by Aoun’s claim that he represented 70% of the Christians because the candidates he backed received approximately 70% of the Christian votes in the 2005 parliamentary elections. I personally believe that this kind of reasoning is flawed. Aoun used it an abused it during the past two years. This doesn’t entitle journalists and analysts to do the same.

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