Lebanese daily As-Safir (which leans towards the opposition) has a very interesting analysis of the results of a poll conducted by Information International (the premier polling organization in Lebanon [see their blog here]). On the face of it, it seems to suggest that Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement and its allies are more popular than March 14th, but the numbers also reveal that Aoun’s support has in fact slipped in the majority-Christian region.
Of the 67.5% of respondents who said that they would vote for the entire list of candidates submitted by either side, 39.6% said that they would vote for the FPM, while 26.3% chose March 14. This, in and of itself, is of potential concern for the Aounists, who captured seven of eight seats in the 2005 election.
Among the 27.2% of respondents who said they would vote for an adjusted list of candidates, the two most popular politicians were Michel el-Murr (a newly anti-Aoun “independent”) and Sami Gemayel (son of M14 stalwart, former President Amin Gemayel), followed by Ibrahim Kanaan (a smart FPM lieutenant). Tellingly, of all Maronites polled, 34.5% support March 14 while 29.8% support the FPM.
The study concludes that if the election were held today, the FPM would win 5-6 seats while March 14th would win 2-3 (Sami Gemayel, Nassib Lahoud, and Sarkis Sarkis [depending on whether or not he allies with M14 this time around]). Of course, this does not take into account the “independent” Orthodox seat that is a lock for Michel el-Murr, who has left the FPM camp. All in all, therefore, as a result of alliance shifting and waning support, the Aounists may be looking at a loss of three seats in the Metn.
Not a great way to capture a parliamentary majority. On the other hand, if Aoun convinces Ghassan al-Rahbani to run, the Metn may be singing a different tune, come June.
Would you place a link to Information International’s website and blog (Lebanonissues.com) so we can track it?
Al Hayat claims that Aoun has in fact nominated Ghassan Rahbani for the Orthodox seat in North Metn.
What exactly are the implications of this?