Elections, Lebanon

The Perfect March 8 Electoral Strategy? Just Relax…

logonew_fpm_s1If I were a political consultant to the March 8 forces, here’s what I would suggest by way of electoral strategy advice:

Just relax.

March 14 is doing all of its work for you. Each passing week brings another miscalculation by the ruling coalition, another blunder, another poorly-coordinated move. The wire-tapping scandal fizzled when Defense Minister Elias al-Murr (whom M8 had refused to consider an ‘independent’ candidate in the post-Doha cabinet) exonerated Telecommunications Minister and Aoun son-in-law Gebran Bassil. The Council of the South scandal fell flat when Berri called M14’s bluff and suggested disbanding all the councils in exchange for setting up a Ministry of Planning. And the Maronite patriarch gave Aounist Christians one more reason to ignore him when he came right out this week and endorsed March 14th. Aoun responded by boycotting mass on Mar Maroun day, and, suprise surprise, nobody cared.

March 14th seems to be outsourcing its electoral strategy to the patriarch and Michel al-Murr’s centrist block. With no real ideas or platform, they have resorted to trying to draw their opponents into skirmish after skirmish, with lackluster results. March 8 (which also has no real ideas or platform) is playing it smart by just letting the days tick by until June 7, when they will probably win a slim majority just because most Lebanese are tired of the same old faces.

As for my advice to March 14? Stop trying to rekindle the emotions of 2005. It’s time to move on; the rest of the country has. Find a cause that doesn’t consist entirely of bashing Syria. Replace the national dialogue talks with nationally televised debates, so that your constituents can see what’s what. Try replacing slogans with policies. Otherwise, move aside and prepare for life as a parliamentary opposition.
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7 thoughts on “The Perfect March 8 Electoral Strategy? Just Relax…

  1. Qifa,

    How will you be voting? Did you make up your choice yet?

    Posted by Nidal | February 10, 2009, 2:14 am
  2. Well written mate. If only politicians would follow up on what they talk about. I’m in Montreal now and your blog helps me keep in touch with the homeland. The people here respect and trust their leaders because they try to fulfill their promises to the utmost capacity.

    Posted by JRK | February 10, 2009, 3:20 am
  3. Nidal,

    I’ll make my choice once I know who is running! 🙂 The candidates have not been announced yet.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2009, 4:03 am
  4. What’s the big deal. After all, the opposition pushed for an electoral law that put everything in the hands of warring christian tribes. This was never about programs. It’s about allegiance. So when election time comes, each one stirs its “how about me” case, to remind one’s followers why they are followers in the first place. The only real political divide could come inside a given community. I see no serious one among the big lebanese parties, be them chi’as or sunnis.
    I have the feeling that, whoever found the “idea” of the independent-centrist or whatsoever party, found the way to effectively snatch the election from the THE general. If the reports on unwavering support of the same leaders among big muslim parties are true, it is all the loyalists need to win. The victory or the defeat will be a narrow one, in any case. For both contenders, 14 and 8, it is a case of wining a battle, not the war, in the long cold/hot war that divides the country along regional lines…They all consider themselves in war, and no body would allow for any significant reform, political or else, that the other party could take advantage from.

    Posted by Mj | February 10, 2009, 8:47 am
  5. QN,
    Is anybody discussing in Lebanon what the opposition in power means for Lebanon? How do Lebanese think that world will react to a Hizballah led government?

    Posted by AIG | February 10, 2009, 3:11 pm
  6. AIG

    Is anybody discussing it? Sure, I am!

    Stay tuned for a post on this topic.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | February 10, 2009, 3:49 pm
  7. QN:

    I still have my citizenship, but neither party really suits my aspirations for Lebanon.

    care to start a new party? we’l call it the no party party!

    Posted by Enlightened | February 10, 2009, 9:00 pm

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