Elections, Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Lebanon, March 14

Anatomy of a Victory

March14FlagBefore last night’s Lebanese election results started pouring in, I had been mentally penning a ‘morning after’ post entitled “Anatomy of a Defeat”, in which I would attempt to put my finger on exactly what it was that led to the undoing of the March 14 movement over the past couple of years.  As anyone who regularly reads this blog could surmise, I was one of the many who suspected that the opposition would win this election. I count myself in good company: every major pollster was projecting a narrow opposition win, and even March 14 stalwarts had expressed their frustration with the movement’s seeming aimlessness over the past few months. All signs seemed to point to an FPM-Hizbullah win.

And now this. Lebanon never fails to surprise.

The blogosphere is already buzzing with interpretations of M14’s electoral victory. Abu Muqawama (Andrew Exum) attributes it to a combination of Christian animosity towards Hizbullah for its takeover of West Beirut last year; Saudi money; and a few well-placed words by the Maronite patriarch a couple of days before the election. Robert Satloff, writing at MESH, says that Joe Biden was the real hero, sweeping into Beirut to remind voters of the consequences for Lebanon’s alliance with the U.S.  if Hizbullah and its allies won, with the result that Christian voters “cast their ballots in droves for candidates opposed to the Hezbollah-backed alliance.”

Foreign Policy‘s Blake Hounshell disagrees, saying:

I hate to burst the bubble, but there’s simply no evidence yet that Obama had any impact on the outcome. As Paul Salem explained Friday for FP, there were plenty of indications – such as the fact that it only ran 11 candidates — that Hezbollah didn’t really want to win and give up its cozy seat in the opposition. And further, it was Hezbollah’s coalition partner, the mostly Christian Free Patriotic Movement, that seems to have underperformed expectations.

This debate will continue over the coming weeks, as more numbers come in (although, who trusts a pollster anymore?). In the meantime, here are some thoughts. I know that many in the opposition are going to start blaming the Maronite patriarch for their loss — as he issued a statement a couple of days before the election which seemed to chide Lebanese Christians into voting for March 14. But when we consider the fact that the FPM performed very well in the Maronite heartland — with sweeps in Kisrawan, Jbeil, Baabda, Zgharta, and a strong showing in the Metn — I’m not so sure that this explanation holds much water.

Far more decisive, in my opinion, seems to have been: (1) the high turnout of Sunnis in Zahle — many of whom came from abroad — coupled with a low turnout of Christians; (2) strong feelings of antipathy towards Hizbullah by the Christians of Beirut who voted decisively for March 14th’s list in the district of Achrafieh; (3) some rare rhetorical blunders by Nasrallah in the past couple of weeks, calling the events of May 7th “a glorious day” for the resistance.

I’ll be adding some more coverage over the day, so check back in. A hearty welcome to all of the new readers.
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Discussion

55 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Victory

  1. I am not going to say I told you so on SC. I even came very very close on the numbers, and it was even much earlier than Biden’s visit, Obama’s speech or even the Patriarch’s speech. How did I know that? Secret of the trade.

    Posted by majid | June 8, 2009, 8:23 am
  2. Would be great if we can get some of those phone movie leaks now but this time of Aoun and Nasralla and what the heck another one for Jumblat doing a new 180

    Posted by V | June 8, 2009, 8:36 am
  3. angry arab had an interesting remark on his blog yesterday, which may have something to do with why the pollsters all got it wrong. he said that the 55% (i think?) percent voter turnout may well be a historical high, but that the ‘real’ turnout was in fact higher. his source in lebanon seemed to be telling him that ‘everybody’ here was voting, not ‘just’ 55%. and i think you did get a sense of that. the number, as suggested by the lebanese source, is inaccurate because of inaccurate and ancient numbers used, the weary topic of the census that has not been held. in addition, the numbers used might include lebanese long living abroad. and as you rightly point out, only SOME of them came back to vote. let’s face it, most of the stories you heard about tickets bought by parties were from M14 members and especially hariri inc.

    nasrallah’s words about may 7 turned into a heavy burden for aoun that cannot be underestimated, i think. and just look at those achrafieh folks who are my neighbors over here, stuff like that just doesn’t go down well with sursock tantes and the more sha3bi parts of achrafieh the like.

    exited to read more during the day, QN, thanks for a great election coverage. let’s hope calm prevails through all those blocking veto questions etc. …

    Posted by bint abeeha | June 8, 2009, 8:37 am
  4. Habibi Majid

    Indeed you called it right. Bravo. You (and As`ad Abu Khalil) have a career in electoral consultancy.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 8, 2009, 8:45 am
  5. 1) American and Saudi warnings … The Obama administration made it clear it is still hard line enough to boycott the next Lebanese government if it was HA and Aoun led.

    Not many Lebanese voters wanted a repeat of the symptoms of a Hamas led Palestine.

    2) Nasrallah got too over confident, same mistake he made when he urged Egyptian officers to move against Mubarak during Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

    3) No one can provide incentives like Hariri can.

    If you remember from my last email, I did not care much who wins … as long as no side can have a strong monopoly on power.

    Posted by Alex | June 8, 2009, 8:52 am
  6. Well lets hope that most of us are also wrong on what might happen if M14 win and refuse to give veto vote.

    I have to admit i am disappointed with the results. i was really hoping for a spilt to force everyone to work together

    Posted by Innocent Criminal | June 8, 2009, 9:12 am
  7. I have a hunch: Obama speech was crucial in winning the undecided voters. The public perception of 14March alliance with Obama is much more acceptable to the Lebanese than the alliance with Bush. Obama speech was much more effective and hypnotizing than As’ad Abu Khalil like to admit. What do you think QN?

    I say score one for Obama.

    P.s. I still think it’s a joke that Sa’d Harriri is considered the ‘leader of the western-backed bloc’.

    Posted by offended | June 8, 2009, 9:20 am
  8. They will share power like the toto “metel al toto”. 45% of the seats isn’t a joke. Besides, even in democratic America Obama is hell-bent on bipartisanship and engaging the Republicans in all loobs of decision making… (even though he’s not obliged to, unlike Lebanon where the sect speaks louder than the political agenda)

    Posted by offended | June 8, 2009, 9:26 am
  9. * meant to say ‘loops’

    Posted by offended | June 8, 2009, 9:28 am
  10. I recall an earlier QN post (http://qifanabki.com/2009/04/18/the-magic-number/) which pointed out that March 8 effectively left it to Aoun to win this for them, since Hizb wasn’t running for any extra seats. Maybe the 8 loss shouldn’t be such a surprise given how much ground FPM had to gain.

    And I’d love to see an analysis of what impact the returning diaspora had on the vote outcome. The airport’s sure been busy for the past few days…

    Posted by Abu Mitchie | June 8, 2009, 9:39 am
  11. FAJA’NAKON MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Posted by V | June 8, 2009, 9:55 am
  12. Yeap, score one for Obama.

    Posted by mj | June 8, 2009, 10:06 am
  13. Aoun only did well in Baabda and Jbeil riding on the coattails of Hizbullah. His self-anointed status as a leader of Lebanese Christians is what will suffer the most.

    Posted by hib | June 8, 2009, 10:10 am
  14. one more thing, please don’t attach importance to Biden’s visit or Obama’s speech. At the core, Lebanese voters are driven by extremely parochial factors.

    Posted by hib | June 8, 2009, 10:12 am
  15. Some of the results are taking a long time…fi shi ghalat?

    Carter: Some parties might not accept elections’ outcome
    June 8, 2009

    Posted by mj | June 8, 2009, 10:23 am
  16. I think the attack on Beirut and the Mountains by Hizballah and its partisans last year cost them and Aoun many votes.

    Posted by LaLebanessa | June 8, 2009, 10:25 am
  17. I’m particularly surprised at how much weight is given to Obama’s Cairo speech as a determining factor on the elections. As I currently live in the US, it’s tough for me to accurately gauge the immediate impact the speech may have had in Lebanon or elsewhere in the region. I would be interested to hear QN and others weigh in on the effect the speech (or even Biden’s visit) may have had on the election outcome. Is this something people in Lebanon are really talking about as a reason for voting M14?

    Posted by Al | June 8, 2009, 11:09 am
  18. A shock result to ‘most’ observers, including a few renowned for their objectivity and foresight, who predicted a closer battle at least.

    Now that the dust has settled (or has it!), where is Lebanon going from here? The euphoria of success, although is legitimate in the circumstances, should not blind the winners, or the losers for that matter, to the impending dangers in the immediate and foreseeable future.

    The numbers notwithstanding, the Lebanese political discourse remains dangerously split between two opposites. The real danger is that a faction of the winning camp would look at the election results as a mandate to take the country full swing in one direction. This faction may well be buoyed ahead and encouraged by external powers, regional and international.

    A safety net could be a centrist bloc based on a Berri-Jumblat axis that would facilitate the naming of an acceptable PM and an empowered government.

    A note worth mentioning: forget the hype of a ‘symbolic’ election and democracy in Lebanon. This is a fallacy without a proper election law the empowers all Lebanese along humane lines, away from the despised sectarian boundaries.

    Regards

    Posted by Question Marks | June 8, 2009, 11:13 am
  19. Am I correct in assuming that despite the overall loss, FPM will still have the largest share of Christian seats in Parliament? Then presumably Aoun will continue to use the line that he’s got a mandate to pursue the Christian’s interests and will once again demand some of the sovereign portfolios come Cabinet-formation time. Should be fun!

    Posted by Abu Mitchie | June 8, 2009, 11:15 am
  20. Unofficial results for Christian parties:

    FPM has 10 seats.
    Kataeb has 5 seats.
    LF has 5 seats.
    Suleiman Frangieh has 3 seats.
    Tashnaq has 2 seats

    More later…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 8, 2009, 11:19 am
  21. Amal Movement MP Hassan Yaacoub speaks to OTV:

    – We accept election results and accept loss, however we reject twisting the facts and forgery.

    – Some polling stations had problems and forgery. Major bribing was discovered.

    – Zahle is considered Lebanon’s soul. The way the elections were held in Zahle is unacceptable.

    – Elections’ outcome will effect Lebanon’s security.

    Posted by mj | June 8, 2009, 11:23 am
  22. One little question, do you guys think that the Hezbo was planning and asking for this defeat ? (Hezb loses less that way than what it could have lost if it had won …)

    Ahmad,

    Posted by ahmad | June 8, 2009, 11:49 am
  23. Abu Mitchie,

    Aoun’s win is actually much less than his so-called ‘tsunami’ of 2005. Jezzine was basically a gift from Hezb at the cost of alienating Berri, and these seats were never considered winnable by M14 candidates. They just swapped owners within M8. His net wins in Baabda and Jbeil were carried by Shia voters and not Christians who voted heavily. The loss of his son in law is very significant symbolically. His own win margin even dwindled to less than 2000 votes. Yes, with Tashnag and Frangieh, he will have the largest Christian bloc.

    Looking forward. It looks like a unity but with no blocking third which Jumblat called yesterday as a fallacy:

    “Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt said in an interview on LBC TV on Sunday evening that “a national unity cabinet is a must, but it has its conditions.”
    He rejected the idea of having an obstructing third, calling it a “fallacy.”
    He also said that if the March 14 alliance wins the elections, they should not isolate their opponents. “We should not repeat such a mistake. We should resort to dialogue, which is more important than the results of the elections,” he said.
    “Very honestly, there was no battle in the Chouf district. The voting was on a political program,” Jumblatt said.
    He stressed that the results in Aley should be respected, regardless of their outcome.
    Jumblatt also spoke about President Sleiman, saying that his duties should be decided upon.
    “I do not have the information Speaker Nabih Berri has about the interference of President Michel Sleiman [in the Jbeil electoral district], and I doubt that the President has interfered,” he said.
    “We all attacked the centrist bloc,” Jumblatt concluded.”

    Where will President Sleiman fit in all of this? May be he’ll get a minister or two that when you combine with opposition ministers will become a veto. That will make more sense in avoiding paralysis on every issue small or big as we have witnessed already after Doha.

    Also, the big question who should become the speaker? It is up to March 14 to decide and they should be very selective considering Mr. Berri’s undemocratic behavior with the last Parliament. Mr. Berri should not be given a carte blanch this time.

    As for those who are calling for a magnanimous M14 response to the victory, they should consider the fact that M14 has won twice so far under two different laws. Of course magnanimity is in the best interests of the country. But how magnanimous M8 would have been had they won? Of course, it is hypothetical question. But M8 definitely didn’t act in the best interests of Lebanon during the last 4 years when they lost and continued to create every obstacle at their disposal to paralyze the country, not to mention 2006 war and May 7, 2008.

    Posted by majid | June 8, 2009, 11:54 am
  24. sorry guys, but obama speech was almost definitely not a factor. i have not heard a single person mention it, in context of the elections or otherwise.

    in fact, i’m not sure most lebanese (especially christians) are more than just vaguely aware that obama even GAVE a speech last week…

    Posted by c | June 8, 2009, 12:08 pm
  25. c, where do you live?

    There are many, many things lebanese don’t talk about, and are still able to push people to go and vote, or can tilt a very complex decision one way or the other.

    The perception of a more moderate attitude from the USA in the coming years worked, in my opinion, against Aoun among the christians.

    Posted by mj | June 8, 2009, 12:41 pm
  26. sounds like M14th will not be willing to give m8th a blocking third; do you think this idea of giving one or two ministries to “centrist” supporters of the president has legs? not many independents were elected; who among them might be seen as genuinely centrist? (since the murrs seems to be hated by M8th?)

    Posted by Wee Beastie | June 8, 2009, 1:03 pm
  27. Government ministers do not have to be MP’s. Most likely the next cabinet may consist of ministers coming mostly from outside Parliament.

    Posted by majid | June 8, 2009, 1:15 pm
  28. sweepstake on new prime minister? hariri???

    Posted by Wee Beastie | June 8, 2009, 1:21 pm
  29. Wee Beastie

    My guess is still Miqati but what do I know? You should ask Majid, who is sitting pretty right now. ;)

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 8, 2009, 1:23 pm
  30. and do you think m8th will accept losing power without a fight of some kind? street violence may be hard to repeat (seems to have counted against them) but could they be obstructive in other ways e.g. boycotting parliament, organising protests for electoral reform to give more weight to the shia?

    Posted by Wee Beastie | June 8, 2009, 1:24 pm
  31. Most commonly encountered scenario is that M14 will offer the following deal:

    In a 30 member cabinet, they will give March 8 ten seats, and two or three seats to the President, reserving the remaining 17-18 for themselves.

    This means that the opposition would not have a veto, but that the president could step in to put the brakes on, should things get out of control. Syria might be okay with that scenario, provided their links to Suleiman are still solid.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 8, 2009, 1:27 pm
  32. The best that can be expected for Lebanon in the next four years is more of the same. The same corruption, nepotism and general ineffictivness of govt. leading to more public debt and cabinet members leaving office far wealthier than when they went in.

    The worst is what will happen if the tribunal implicates Hizballah in the death of Hariri or the new govt. tries a repeat of May 5th.

    Last night there was business plan on my desk for the opening of an office for my business in Beirut that looked to start with 20 employees and to have 60 by the end of 2010. This morning that plan is in the bin as are my plans to move back permanently.

    The people have spoken and made their choice. Its a choice that goes profoundly against my beliefs and wishes for the country but its what they want so I hope, for the sake of the country, it was a wise choice and not one based on imaginary fears.

    After 4 years of arguing my case this result is a vindication for all those who argued against me. As I was obviously wrong on what I thought of the Lebanese and their wishes, then it is obviously wrong for me to argue further, so I will no longer be making comments on any site.

    Good luck to Lebanon, its going to need it.

    Posted by mo | June 8, 2009, 1:30 pm
  33. QN,

    Thanks again for the posting. I would hardly call Jbeil and Baabda “Maronite heartland,” though. Majid is right to point out the influence of the Shiite vote there.

    Majid,

    While you are it, how about that swinging Sunni vote in Zahleh and Kurah?

    Posted by Ms. Tee | June 8, 2009, 2:34 pm
  34. I for one was not surprised. The clinching factors were entirely that of the Hizb misadventures last May and then SHN’s less than eloquent speech praising those events. Biden, Obama, etc were non factors and so was the flying in of expats because everybody was engaged in this and other unethical vote buying stuff and anyone who says otherwise is delusional.
    The tide has turned on Aoun, and here is a prediction for you QN:
    Tashnaq will align itself with a centrist block with the President.

    Posted by MM | June 8, 2009, 3:58 pm
  35. I am curious about what happened in Zahle. While I take a certain guilty pleasure in seeing Skaff shut out, I did not see that coming.

    Thoughts?

    Posted by dadavidovich | June 8, 2009, 4:46 pm
  36. QN great Blog

    Official Results Gives FPM
    21 or 22 seats
    Tashnak 2
    Marada 3

    LF 5 seats
    Kataeb 5 seats

    Posted by elsheikh | June 8, 2009, 6:12 pm
  37. QN,

    I read about the election results on Ma’ariv – http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/900/916.html?hp=1&loc=1&tmp=3192 And, if the Lebanese chicks in the two photos in the article will be there next time around, I’d hereby like to announce my candidacy to the Lebanese Parliament… I’m willing to be the 129th member (the odd Israeli out)… :-)

    Posted by Shai | June 8, 2009, 6:31 pm
  38. Ms. Tee,
    Yes the Sunni vote in Zahle was significant in the outcome. But it cannot be compared to effect of the Shia vote in Baabda and Jbeil. There is an equal counterbalancing Shia block of voters in the Zahle district. There are no comparable Sunni blocks in Baabda and Jbeil. In addition, a nonresident candidate like ‘Uqab Saqr couldn’t have won in Zahle just by the Sunni vote. I believe the Zahle Christian people, who I know very well having lived in the city for two years, have made choices based on national issues. I believe they felt the country is really facing an existential threat and made their decisions accordingly. This is the issue which General Aoun tried hard to combat by trying to sell his Christian constituents a nonrealistic message of false ‘hope’ based on nostalgia.

    QN,
    I wouldn’t write off Miqati as next PM . The government, however, will not be much different under a different nominee (Hariri), and you probably have a good outline of it in your 33. However, listening to Hariri’s victory speech last night one would wonder what happened to the guy. He is all of a sudden speaking like a statesman. Did he graduate already?

    Posted by majid | June 8, 2009, 6:56 pm
  39. Obama wished Lebanon continues to be governed based on tawafuq

    Hosni Mubarak phoned Hariri and congratulated him.

    Posted by Alex | June 8, 2009, 8:55 pm
  40. majid,

    it seems that you like to play the game of shia/sunni. well in baabda the sunnis+druze are
    slightly more than shia. in jbeil the difference was more than 8000 votes so FPM won the christian vote in jbeil against
    LF+patriarch+president+harriri money

    Posted by undecidable | June 8, 2009, 10:30 pm
  41. Shouldn’t the Jews of Lebanon have a rep in the parliament? Since Lebanon is all about diversity and every sect and religion is represented, who knows maybe our Jewish cousins will come back if they are offered a seat or two!!

    Posted by V | June 8, 2009, 11:35 pm
  42. FPM’s Change and Reform bloc got 27 MPs in 2009 compared to 22 back in 2005.

    Even if falling short of expectations, not only they gained more seats this round, but they still scored well considering all the factors combined.

    So, Majid, whether you like it or not, GMA is still by far the leader of the largest Christian bloc in parliament and hence the leader of the Christians in the nation (based on both MP counts in Christian caza’s and on the popular Christian vote). Back in 1990, the man was our exiled Christian leader with 0 seats. Hey, you have to give him some credit.

    On a different note, so what if the Shia in Jezzine gave FPM MPs most of their votes? If this says anything, it means that they got the majority Christian and the majority Shia votes in an area where their serious competition was the Shia group Amal. So not only it gives the 3 winning MPs there Christian leadership legitimacy but even a national one.

    If the new government that will be formed with your majority (that you’re obviously so eager to support) chooses the likes of Nahra, Sami, Nadim, or Nayla; oh wait a minute…I forgot Hadi, to fill in the Christian quota in the government, then “haniaan lakom wa li tayyar el moustaqbal wa li loubnan bi hal hokm el ati… wou aya moustaqbal hayda”. Seriously.

    Double congrats.

    Posted by PN | June 9, 2009, 9:00 am
  43. PN,

    Do you have any non-Christian LEBANESE members in FPM? Do you know anything about Lebanon’s geography besides the Cazaa’s where the Christians are concentrated? Do you know any member of the Jarrah clan? Do you know what country the members of this clan live in? Do you know their nationality? Do you how civilized they are?

    By the way the government hasn’t been formed yet. But GMA is not going to have a lion’s share in it, I can assure you about that. So if he is seeking to be a good leader in Lebanon, he may have to control his apetite and exercise some diet. The rules are very clear. Lebanon comes first and not who represents the Christians of Lebanon.

    Posted by majid | June 9, 2009, 9:39 am
  44. “The rules are very clear. Lebanon comes first and not who represents the Christians of Lebanon.”

    What a strange comment coming from a partisan. Not taking sides, but did you hear the dollar figures that the European and US press were quoting when describing how Saudi Arabia financed the M14 coalition? I think the BBC mentioned $500 MM. How can you say the country comes first when clearly it was foreign interests; namely Saudi.

    I am actually taking sides not because I favour any particular grouping but because you Lebanese are so arrogant to believe that you are better than your neighbours. This election only showed that you are worse because they don’t claim to be democratic: you do. In Lebanon money talks, b******t walks. Hariri / Saudi money was screaming on Sunday.

    For all M14 scare mongering about Iran and Syria, it was the only 5th column in the country.

    Posted by John G | June 10, 2009, 1:18 am
  45. Majid,

    Oups! so you finally made a wrong prediction. Simply based on my views and comments, you assumed that I know nothing about Lebanon or its geography (perhaps a better term would be its demographics) outside the hard-core Christian Cazas.

    My hometown where I used to spend my weekends and summers since childhood till late teens is actually a tiny Christian village that is decorated by several surrounding Muslim villages in Akkar (perhaps, the most non-Christian caza in Lebanon). As kids from neighboring villages, we roamed the same “basateen”, snacked on the same dusty fig trees, then played hide and seek around the same berry bushes. During week days, my family resided in Tripoli; and not in Mina area or Mar Maroun street, but in the heart of the city surrounded by neighbors who were predominantly Muslim. As such, during the worst period of the civil war, I actually grew up, studied, played, and celebrated with classmates and friends who prayed, dressed, and in some ways were raised differently. I recall that I once attempted to fast Ramadan with them (that was tough; I honestly have no idea how you guys can go thirsty for that long).

    When it comes to the national identity, it is true that we should be Lebanese first and Christian or Muslim or whatever second. However, as the system stands right now, you have to admit that sectarianism does exist. It is quite the norm and perhaps one might say the responsibility of the leading figure in each community not only to look for its interests, but to be a good role model. So, if MP Hariri attempts to rally behind him the majority of the Sunni electorate in Lebanon and to look for its interests and protect its rights in our messed up system, would that make him less Lebanese? The same applies for the other leaders such as MP Jumblat or Berri…etc. So, why should it be any different for us?

    Having been raised the way I was, would you really expect me to feal comfortable with Geagea or Gemayel (or their present replicas/descendents) as the leading figure for my community? Even if I forget their fabulous legacy and contribution to the nation for the past 30 years, how am I supposed to forget that while growing up, it was common to hear stories of a neighbor’s son or someone from the city vanishing on his way to Beirut as he was crossing the LF/Kateab checkpoints (by the way, to be fair, these things happened in both directions).

    On the other hand, you asked whether there are any non-Christian Lebanese in FPM? You’re obviously unaware or perhaps had a memory lapse that among the very first wave of March 14 1989 spokesmen and martyrs, those resting in burial places in Muslim towns are not far less in numbers than those resting in Church backyards. You may say that this was the case back in 1989-1990 and this no more stands. In fact, although the majority of the base members in FPM are Christians, yet the non-Christian voices can not be taken lightly (~5% to last year’s registration). Its founding council and its activists do have a zealous represntation from those of Muslim faith and not only Shia.

    Finally, nope; I do not know anyone of the Jarrah family and have to admit that I’ve only been in Rashaya and Bekaa once during a school trip (we were not even allowed to leave the bus at the time). Likewise, I am sure that many of them and possibly yourself have not been to the “concentrated” Christian Cazaas as well. One thing I can guarantee you that they would probably feel way more comfortable and welcome at the dinner table under an Orange roof vs. drinking water from the hands of any of their current Christian allies. Apparently, not only GMA has to exercise some diet for the next 4 years.

    In good health.

    Posted by PN | June 10, 2009, 10:36 am
  46. OK, PN, Lets get a third opinion

    I was not making predictions in my prvious comment. It is not may favorite game.

    And by the way, I have been to all Christian concentraed Cazaa’s, and actually lived in quite few of them for quite sometime, including Achrafiye.

    Posted by majid | June 10, 2009, 12:51 pm
  47. The “Lebanese press round-up: June 9, 2009” cites al-Akhbar:

    “A study came out after the release of the electoral results indicating that the opposition received a popular vote of 815,000 (54.5%) compared to 680,000 (45.5%) for the pro-government coalition.”

    What do you all think about this?

    I seem to remember seeing these numbers cited elsewhere, and a link being given to an article in The Daily Star. Now I’m kicking myself for not bookmarking that page. Do any of you know if there in fact is such a Daily Star article out there somewhere that I might take a look at?

    Posted by Roberto | June 16, 2009, 6:36 am

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