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

Almost Half a Year Later, Lebanon Finally Has a Cabinet

champagneWell, it took five months (almost to the day) but Lebanon seems to have finally turned the page on the historic parliamentary elections held on June 7, 2009.

Not to jinx things, but the media is rife with reports that efforts to form a national unity government have succeeded, with the majority March 14 Forces holding fifteen seats in a cabinet of thirty ministers, while the alliance composed of the former opposition parties will hold ten seats, and the remaining five ministers will be appointed by the President of the Republic.

Rumor has it that Michel Aoun’s Change & Reform Bloc has been appointed the Telecommunications, Energy, Tourism, and Industry portfolios, along with a fifth Minister of State.

Nabih Berri’s Development and Liberation Bloc is expected to retain Foreign Affairs, Health (almost certainly Mohammad Khalifeh), and Youth & Sports.

Hezbollah, as per usual, will happily sit back and content itself with a measly two portfolios — people are talking about Agriculture (giving up Labor — I know some deported journalists who’ll be happy to hear about this…) and the Ministry of Administrative Affairs.

** There are several conflicting cabinet lineups being circulated on the internet. I’m not going to publish any of them until there is an official confirmation.

Stay tuned: a confirmed full lineup should be forthcoming pretty soon…

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Discussion

27 thoughts on “Almost Half a Year Later, Lebanon Finally Has a Cabinet

  1. I thought this was a Qnion post.

    Posted by Cathie | November 6, 2009, 10:48 pm
  2. LOL

    Could still be… fingers crossed.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 6, 2009, 11:01 pm
  3. You have any more info yet?

    Posted by Cathie | November 6, 2009, 11:34 pm
  4. While the government formation crisis was taking place, there was another similar story that received minor coverage: The appointment of employees at the Beirut municipality.

    For 3 months now, the Maronite patriarch Sfeir vetoed the appointment of employees who successfully passed the qualifiers because the ratio had more muslims than christians.

    Now anyone who was attributing the government crisis solely to some conspiratorial iranian-hezballawi plot planning to paralyze lebanese politics, has to realize how petty lebanese politicians are when it comes to power sharing even without the help of foreign powers.

    Posted by haytham | November 7, 2009, 11:28 am
  5. This is the new government:

    http://www.14march.org/news-details.php?nid=MTc1MDg1

    I do not understand why Gibran Bassil is in this list. Worse still why telecommunication is still with opposition?

    In fact, I do not understand why the opposition should be in the government at all.

    And why it took six months to form?

    Posted by mike | November 7, 2009, 4:06 pm
  6. You lost me there. Are you increasingly sarcastic when you adopt the general framework of analysis or have you more simply espoused it?

    I discovered your blog during the electoral period and was struck by your analytical framework, it seemed to me custom made for the interpretation of local political events and factors.
    Your approach was refreshing because you went beyond your political preferences and succeeded in giving an informed neutral analysis, just like a serious American analyst would interpret American politics.

    But now it seems to me that your analysis is more open to local frameworks (that are extremely politicised) and western frameworks (that fit the interests and worldview of western countries). I might be wrong.

    Now that the cabinet formation process is almost over, don’t u think it would be interesting to look back at process critically to try to distinguish the local and the regional factors; the institutional factors from the circumstantial factors; the partisan factors from the personal factors…

    A couple of weeks ago, you said something about institutionalising the rules of the game that would come out from the cabinet formation process. What do you think these rules of the game could be, and how could they translate institutionally?

    Posted by worriedlebanese | November 8, 2009, 5:51 am
  7. worriedlebanese,

    I thought you were against institutionalizing anything. 🙂

    I really don’t think that I’m engaging in any kind of analysis at all here… just reporting on the news. There’s not so much left to say, in my opinion, regarding cabinet formation. I’ve made my opinions on the issue very clear: consensual government is a boneheaded idea; governments should be composed by a majority coalition; the rules regarding cabinet formation should be very clear and there should be a time limit; am I missing anything?

    I don’t think anything has changed since the period in which I spent a lot of time discussing institutions, governmental practices, etc.

    In the coming weeks, I’m hoping to turn to the list of government priorities that we came up with, and host a discussion on each of the top 20 or so.

    But please feel free to “look back at the process critically to try to distinguish” whatever you like! I’m all ears.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 8, 2009, 8:04 am
  8. But now it seems to me that your analysis is more open to local frameworks (that are extremely politicised) and western frameworks (that fit the interests and worldview of western countries). I might be wrong.

    Also, please do elaborate on this.

    cheers,
    QN

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 8, 2009, 11:59 am
  9. Hey,
    Love your blog. But in response to worriedLebanese you said you had made your positions clear. I’m not so sure we can analyze Lebanon the way we would analyze the US or French system, or any other system for that matter. i would argue to analyze each in its context. Yes, consensual gov’t sounds like a farce, but we have to consider the politics in the country and to consider that there are groups who would gladly cheer the total annihilation of another group – LF and Hizballah come to mind. This isn’t because they hate each others religion so much as there are different ways to look at political factors influencing the country.

    Personally, I think that government in Lebanon is a farce. Nothing will get fixed this way. What should have happened in May 2008, for example, was for the stronger side to eliminate the political leaders of the weaker side (through exile or some other means). Once that was done the winner could make a total break from the old system. The transformation from Nazi Germany to present day Germany was not done through democracy. Had Hitler lived on and the allies included him and his party in the new system Germany would not be where it is today.

    In Lebanon, we are too scared to touch these red lines. Government, no matter who is in it and how it is formed, is itself the boneheaded idea. And I’m not advocating for anarchism, though the Lebanese would manage that one pretty well. But I am saying that we might want to call a spade a spade instead of dancing diplomatically around all these lines. The problem with Lebanon’s politics is probably that it hasn’t been violent enough, especially where the elite political cadre is concerned.

    Posted by Sam | November 8, 2009, 2:02 pm
  10. “Personally, I think that government in Lebanon is a farce. Nothing will get fixed this way. What should have happened in May 2008, for example, was for the stronger side to eliminate the political leaders of the weaker side (through exile or some other means).”

    Really??
    Personally, I think Lebanon is doing much better without the need for such ************ analysis like yours.

    ***************

    Posted by mike | November 8, 2009, 5:09 pm
  11. Mike,
    What makes you think that your ideas are more worthy than others? Can we act like mature responsible adults by accepting the right of others to differ with us without the need to resort to name calling ?
    This problem of “shouting” on unmoderated blogs has been the death knell of many well written bogs. Freedom to visit and have a say must carry with it a heavy sense of responsibility, don’t you agree? Have a nice day.

    Posted by ghassan karam | November 8, 2009, 6:00 pm
  12. Ghassan,
    give me a break if you don’t mind. I am not intereseted in any remote pontificating attitude with all due respect If you see someting and you don’t like you can simply skip. It is that simple.

    The guy is a clear a*****e. Don’t you see that? I hope you don’t bring the mantra comopolitanism again (as if you’re the only one who knows what it is). There is something even more basic than that. It is called common sense.

    Posted by mike | November 8, 2009, 6:29 pm
  13. QN,
    Sorry my position attracted such nonsense attack on your blog.

    Mike, I won’t bother wasting my time responding to your slurs.

    Posted by Sam | November 8, 2009, 8:22 pm
  14. Sam,

    Thanks for your comments. What are you advocating, in concrete terms?

    Mike,

    Ghassan is right: there’s no room for such a tone in this comment section. If I have to keep editing you, I’m going to get tired of it and will resort to short-cuts.

    Thanks.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 8, 2009, 8:48 pm
  15. Qifa,

    It’s a bit more complicated than consensual gov’t or not. Majority rule “might” work if we are talking about problems of health care, electricity, corruption, and that’s it. But there are legitimate definitions of how we define the country that we are in conflict over. Yes, our conflict with Israel plays a big role, so does the fact that the world would like to see the Palestinians settled in Lebanon. Holding elections with the kind of electoral fraud that went on (from both sides), and then saying the winner should rule, while a good and reasonable idea, doesn’t work with the way our political elite (all of them) understand their power.

    I think our problem is with the idea of “no victor and no vanquished.” In order to really make a break it is the social order that needs to be done away with – you might call it revolution but I won’t be so quick to do that.

    The social order, since 1839 (to be exact), has been one where the elites fight, provide amnesty, and then fight again, all in order to maintain their own power – not for our sake. In 1839, this is where the power starts to turn sectarian, although I would argue it didn’t reach fruition until 2009! So long as we continue to be led by the “no victor, no vanquished” philosophy – in order to protect the power of our political elite – we will continue to find ourselves in battle after battle. Each time, we are told to be friends again and forget what happened. What they don’t tell you is that we can live together, it’s just that the political elite don’t allow it because that would eat away at their power.

    While I hope we can resolve things nonviolently, I don’t know if some measure of violence will not ultimately be needed. It’s cynical, I know. But otherwise you get about 100 people dead (like May 2008), for absolutely no reason. In the end, the same social order is restored and we end up arguing within the bounds of this order: same people, same parties, same politics – we are fooled to think this is our only framework.

    The order itself is the farce. I cannot reconcile with the LF (insert any party you wish), and i don’t want to. I don’t want such a party to have control in politics, anymore than a German would like a Nazi in their government. Elections, in this case, don’t provide the necessary mask to overcome our disagreement. The only mask is consensual government because the politicians agree on it in order to maintain their mutual power.

    In all of this, there is a certain politics that is very valid taking place – we would be foolish to disregard it. Simplistically, do you want an unchecked neoliberal system with a weak gov’t – known not to work? Or do you want resistance to a legitimate enemy, but all on your own while others make peace? Tough choices – and I made it black/white for brevity but I would argue neither 8 nor 14 fit nicely into either. So long as there is no victor to tell you what you want, you can’t but have a consensual gov’t – anything else would eat away at the power of some and disturb the balance of “no victor, no vanquished.” So, it seems to me, if you are asking for majority rule you might as well be prepared for battle. Hariri, in this case, couldn’t just do it without setting the stage for that battle. In May 2008, Hizballah new this and that is why they played the game and did not go after Siniora, Jumblatt or anyone else. They all have a stake in maintaining this current social order. And I think we need to be speaking out against it, while, and here is the catch, holding on to some of those legitimate demands and politics (especially foreign policy) they advocate.

    Hope you were able to follow…

    Posted by Sam | November 8, 2009, 10:27 pm
  16. Very fair QN.
    You also gave the guy a chance to express himself. Very commendable on your part and empathic. The result is very clear.

    I too hope you were able to follow. I know now that I wasted my time reading through an even longer piece of confusion trying to emulate your patience by giving the guy an open mind and a listening ear.

    May be I am short tempered. But I am also capable of reading a message from its title as they say. I’ll try to follow my own short cuts which I find more effective in such cases – that’ll be the advice I gave Ghassan i.e. just skip through. Keep on exercising your patience. I know that works for you. I’m sure you understand people are different.

    Posted by mike | November 9, 2009, 1:58 am
  17. Sam, this guy seems to agree to your post
    http://www.lorientlejour.com/editoriaux/editorial.php?id=4
    With permission from non francophone readers, I found Gaby Nasr’s following of the last 5 months the closest possible account of the (de-)formation of the (dis-)unity government, second after the fabulous QN blog, of course. Neither of them took the twists of the long saga of Lebanese Ridicule seriously, which made Redleb unease about QN. I think Redleb gives himself the key in his post: QN (and most of its readers and contributors) took the election of June 09 seriously enough to take the pain of scrutinizing it -he did it very well, as Redleb said-, and that makes it illogical to expect that he would find anything to discuss about in a process that consisted, from day one, in explaining that the government had to be formed like the elections never happened…
    At this point, not a lot of lebanese political dilemmas are left to discuss anymore in this blog. That should explain our addiction to Qnion’s tears… of laugh. Next point of discussion imposes itself: Does Ridicule kill?

    Posted by mj | November 9, 2009, 4:28 am
  18. QN: you seem to be firmly in the “yay Ziad Baroud” club. While I want to see him rocking that ministry as much as the next guy, I’m curious as to what exactly hes been up to recently? It seems we haven’t heard much from him in the past 5 months or so, and his traffic policies have been slinking away [I haven’t spotted cops giddily producing speeding tickets or fines for jabbering on the phone, let alone double/triple parking]

    Is it just me not being attentive enough? or has he been powerless while the cabinet formation goes on?

    Posted by vic | November 9, 2009, 6:05 am
  19. Good question. I think that caretaker cabinets are not supposed to embark on anything ambitious. Plus, even if they ARE allowed to do whatever they like, it may have been seen as presumptuous of Baroud to keep on keeping on with his reform program, because it would have suggested that he knew he would be re-appointed no matter what.

    The interior ministry is no joke; it’s one of the most important of them all. And it’s sort of amazing that we have an activist minister in there. I think he can scarcely believe it himself sometimes.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 9, 2009, 7:48 am
  20. mj,
    To continue your point, what many of us did not realize is that an election could actually result in the same principle of “no victor, no vanquished.” I, at least, thought this was the stuff of our wars. But more importantly, what I am saying, is that with these leaders, their interconnections, and the way they maintain power, it cannot be any other way. We might only be realizing this, but its been this way for a long time. To ask for consensual government, as I said, is much more loaded than it seems.

    Posted by Sam | November 9, 2009, 12:23 pm
  21. Sorry, I meant that to ask for a majority rule (non consensual) government, as QN had said, is more loaded than it seems. You don’t get there through elections like we thought pre-June 2009.

    Posted by Sam | November 9, 2009, 1:22 pm
  22. @ QN7 + QN8
    to put things simply, I don’t believe one can analyse the Lebanese political game in terms of “majority”/”minority”, “opposition”/”loyalist”, “pro-west”/”pro-syrian”. These labels are extremely misleading. You cannot ignore the label because it is in public use, but I believe one should always stress that the label does not describe the object it refers to (just like commercial labels).

    The “Opposition” is part of the government, one wonder to whom the “Loyalist” are loyal, the “Minority” and the “Majority” are actually a coalition of a great number of parties, networks, blocs who sometimes are hostile to each other and have good ties with parties or networks from the other side. The “pro-West” is actually “anti-syrian” and some are actually distrustful of the west and belong to regional patronage networks… the same could be said about the “pro-Syrian”. Their value is more polemical than anything and it serves to mobilise the target group and comfort foreign sponsors.

    Traditionally, the Lebanese have used the terms “Opposition” and “Loyalist” (which were only relevant under Khoury, Chamoun and Helou), the other appellations are new and were originally devised to fit geopolitical considerations.

    Regarding cabinet formation, you say “there’s not so much left to say”, I’m not so sure about that. I think these four months are full with elements that can be informatively analysed. And you did add “the rules regarding cabinet formation should be very clear“. Well, they obviously are not… or else you wouldn’t have put a “should”. As for the time limit, well, that calls for institutional changes. So I’m curious to know how you would clarify them?

    You say “consensual government is a boneheaded idea“. But all our governments have been consensual. Even if the “March XIV” coalition had decided and was able to form a so-called majority government (which is impossible considering the power structure in Lebanon most notably because of Hezbollah’s weapons and Amal’s control on large chunks of the administration and the speakership, and all that with the full support the two parties enjoy from most Shiite-Lebanese), you would have had a coalition government in which parties have conflicting agendas. Here are a couple of examples:
    – the PSP said it would oppose privation
    – the LF is very carefully working on a patronage network and blocking other christian forces from doing the same. And it is backed by the Maronite Patriarch and the Future Movement.
    – the Lebanon First parliamentary bloc cannot agree on any policy except one (the economical policy because they have no say in it), because of its heterogeneity. It includes islamists, liberals, traditionalists, people with “former” connections to the Syrian intelligence, people with differing geopolitical outlooks, wealthy and semi-autonomous clients.
    So even an improbable so called “majority coalition”, it would still be a precarious consensual formation abiding by consensual rules.

    Posted by worriedlebanese | November 11, 2009, 3:49 am
  23. I don’t believe one can analyse the Lebanese political game in terms of “majority”/”minority”, “opposition”/”loyalist”, “pro-west”/”pro-syrian”. These labels are extremely misleading. You cannot ignore the label because it is in public use, but I believe one should always stress that the label does not describe the object it refers to (just like commercial labels).

    What’s wrong with “majority” and “minority”? Clearly, it is no longer a useful category, given that March 14 is disintegrating, as a coalition. But between 2005 and the first half of 2009, there was a clear parliamentary majority and minority. Right?

    Same goes for “opposition” and “loyalist”. They represent political projects. From late 2006 until mid-2008, there was a very clear opposition that was attempting to bring down the government, which was composed of loyalist parties. What’s wrong with this label?

    As for pro-West/anti-Syrian, etc. I agree this is problematic, but when I use these terms it is almost always in the context of an article in the mainstream media, with an audience that may not even know where Lebanon is. So we resort to such labels.

    As for consensualism: I’ve made my argument on this score several times, and published an opinion piece in The National on it a few weeks ago. Didn’t we discuss it then? 🙂

    To me, all of the qualifications that you’ve added are both obstacles to a non-consensual system as well as being partly engendered by the consensual system.

    Your argument seems to be: look at how screwed up Lebanon is. Given the heterogeneity present in both coalitions, and given the facts of Hezbollah’s weapons and the patronage networks of various parties, the best system we can hope for is a consensual one.

    I disagree, and I’ve explained why several times on this blog.

    Any political coalition is going to have a certain degree of heterogeneity in it. Look at the most recent health care vote in the U.S. congress. The Democrats had 40 votes to spare in the House, and the bill passed by only two votes.

    Why don’t we pick one specific issue that you think needs to be analyzed further, vis-a-vis the cabinet formation process, and discuss it.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 11, 2009, 7:30 am
  24. Sorry QN, I just skimmed through this comment before publishing and it’s a muddle. But I couldn’t see how I can make my points clearer. So here it goes:

    The argument you presented in your reply isn’t exactly the one I’m trying to make.
    I’m not a consensualist by the way. I would have liked to live in a bipartisan political system in which u can choose between two political programs. But as a Lebanese, I’m never given a choice between two programs (even if the two cross-communal coalitions pretend otherwise… hence raised expectations). As you know, the political scene is extremely fragmented and sometimes programs and outlooks are much more similar across the coalition divide than within it. For example, the convergence between christian parties is striking. I honestly cannot tell the difference between the Kataeb, the LF, the NB, the NLP and the FPM in terms of economical, educational and institutional outlook. That’s why when it was time to vote, the only debate was geopolitical! On the other hand, I see no such convergence within the different elements of the Lebanon First parliamentary bloc.

    I don’t believe Lebanon – political system and society – is that screwed up (though both are quite dysfunctional). I think it is extraordinarily complex. And any analysis of it should reflect that complexity.

    Labels such as “Opposition”, “Loyalist”, “Majority” and “Minority” do not reflect this complexity but reduce it to one element that is extremely misleading.

    Technically, an opposition is a political group that is outside government. This hasn’t been the case for Amal since the 1980s or Hezbollah since 2005 or FMP since 2008. In the 1990s Jumblatt started using the label opposition while still in government. But that doesn’t change the fact that these parties are actually governmental parties, and some will probably remain so even if they were not participating in government (ex: Michel Murr, Nabih Berri, Walid Jumblatt). This is the Lebanese reality.

    I wouldn’t say that from late 2006 until mid-2008, “there was a clear opposition that was attempting to bring down the government”. How much does this translate or explain the actual power struggles? I don’t believe it does.
    What happened in 2006 was more like a rift within the governing coalition (structured around the quadripartite oligarchy) joined by several other political groups (some qualify as parliamentarian opposition, while others were not even in parliament…). No political actor knew how to deal with this rift. If Siniora had accepted the resignation of the Amal and Hezbollah ministers (who were loyal to the President), then we could have been able to speak in term of government vs opposition. But he never did! And he actually couldn’t because the resigning parties are part of the ruling oligarchy.
    As for the “loyalist” label, everyone is a loyalist inasmuch as they are loyal to one of the power centers, the question is to which one: to the Prime Minister? to the President? to the Speaker? to a Za’im? Calling a coalition that has different allegiances “loyalist” is obviously misleading.
    I hope all this isn’t coming across as word play.

    As for “majority” and “minority”, this is suited in truly parliamentarian countries that have a bipartisan system. This is not the case of Lebanon. Not only are we not bipartisan but the power center is certainly not the parliament. What meaning do these labels mean when you have at least 5 different parties (patronage networks) under each label and that the ties and commonalities within each camp are extremely weak?! If it is used to show that one is larger than the other, then why not oppose the larger and the smaller coalition? If it is meant to imply that one coalition can rule without the other than it is a deceptive categorisation because of the power structure and the informal power sharing arrangements (ex: Amal and Mustaqbal public administrations, Jumblatistan, Hezbollah-land…).
    “Majority” and “minority” simply do not reflect the actual power structure that still relies on the quadripartite oligarchy that is gradually integrating new members (notably the FPM and the Lebanese Forces).

    Posted by worriedlebanese | November 11, 2009, 12:40 pm
  25. worriedlebanese

    “I honestly cannot tell the difference between the Kataeb, the LF, the NB, the NLP and the FPM in terms of economical, educational and institutional outlook.”

    Agreed.

    Technically, an opposition is a political group that is outside government. This hasn’t been the case for Amal since the 1980s or Hezbollah since 2005 or FMP since 2008.

    The FPM did not join the government after the 2005 elections, so how could they have been anything but an opposition? 🙂

    As for Hizb/AMAL, when they resigned from the government in late 2006, they essentially joined the opposition. Even if Saniora didn’t accept their resignations, the whole point of the walk-out was to empty the existing government of constitutional legitimacy (based on a very particular reading of the Preamble, clause j) and to bring it down.

    It wasn’t just a “rift”! It was a frontal assault on the politics of the March 14 alliance.

    “I hope all this isn’t coming across as word play.”

    It is, kind of. 🙂

    I mean, at the end of the day, we can chase our tails about how to define this or that as long as we want. What matters, surely, is the extent to which a label contributes to our understanding of the political dynamic.

    And I believe that “majority” and “minority” were actually very productive labels for a while. The two coalitions held up remarkably well for a four-year period, coordinating their policies and stances in a manner that was quite surprising, given what you would expect about “weak internal forces” etc.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 11, 2009, 12:53 pm
  26. “Majority” and “Minority” were certainly very productive labels.
    – They brushed over the heterogeneity of each coalition (and its lack of program, and its cross-communal shortcomings),
    – They concealed the fact that the power structure in Lebanon lay in the hand of 4 dominant networks (Mustaqbal, Amal, Hezbollah, PSP) aka the quadripartite oligarchy and its informal arrangements.
    – They gave the impression that the Lebanese system was somewhat bipartisan even though it is actually extremely fragmented and hijacked by the will of a limited number of political players (one neutralised the Constitutional Court, the other neutralised the Parliament, together they neutralised the government and created an informal institution, the Dialogue Table…)
    – They facilitated the reading of the elections in terms of “winner” and “looser” even though the quadripartite oligarchy chose not to wage any battle within its ranks (so all its four members are actually winners).
    – They raised expectations by giving the impression that one coalition could govern without the other.

    These labels more than contribute to some kind of understanding of the political dynamic… they actually determine our reading of the situation.

    Posted by worriedlebanese | November 11, 2009, 6:56 pm
  27. Hi worriedlebanese,

    I don’t see why your reading (which is very intelligent) is incompatible with the terms “majority” and “minority”.

    – They brushed over the heterogeneity of each coalition (and its lack of program, and its cross-communal shortcomings),

    Coalitions can be heterogeneous and still structured according to the logic of majority/minority. Other countries that have a more entrenched bipartisan system or a more stable tradition of coalition government still exhibit strong heterogeneity in these groupings. The Democratic party in the U.S. has various caucuses and coalitions within it. The Israeli ruling coalition is composed of parties with different ideologies. Etc.

    – They concealed the fact that the power structure in Lebanon lay in the hand of 4 dominant networks (Mustaqbal, Amal, Hezbollah, PSP) aka the quadripartite oligarchy and its informal arrangements.

    Concealed from who? 🙂 I think that this is well-established, and nobody is fooled.

    – They gave the impression that the Lebanese system was somewhat bipartisan even though it is actually extremely fragmented and hijacked by the will of a limited number of political players (one neutralised the Constitutional Court, the other neutralised the Parliament, together they neutralised the government and created an informal institution, the Dialogue Table…)

    Again, is it any surprise to anyone that the system is fragmented? I know that it seems like half the articles written about Lebanon in the mainstream press make reference to the “rivalry between the two opposing sides”, but surely the other half of the articles make reference to “Lebanon’s fragmented political culture.”

    – They facilitated the reading of the elections in terms of “winner” and “looser” even though the quadripartite oligarchy chose not to wage any battle within its ranks (so all its four members are actually winners).

    How is this the fault of the terms “majority” and “minority”?

    – They raised expectations by giving the impression that one coalition could govern without the other.

    This may be true.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | November 11, 2009, 8:11 pm

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