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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June 2005, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Will Lebanon vote bring change?
Supporters of Saad Hariri

We discussed the Lebanon elections in our global phone-in programme, Talking Point.

The US has called for an investigation into the death of veteran Lebanese politician George Hawi, the former Communist Party leader and an opponent of Syria, who was killed in a car bomb attack on Tuesday.

His death comes after the anti-Syrian bloc's victory in elections, the first since Syria ended a 29-year occupation.

The new parliament already has many pressing issues to contend with - from relations with Syria and Israel, to Lebanon's massive debt and the future of Hezbollah.

How will the recent violence affect attempts to keep Lebanon stable? How will the new parliament deal with Syria, Israel and Hezbollah?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

The election that took place in Lebanon is the first step to regain our freedom and democracy. A lot of blame is always put on the confessional nature of the Lebanese, but we must also admit that the international community ignored Syria's hegemony over Lebanon for the past 15 years. When the Lebanese students demonstrated against Syria's occupation in 1989-90 and when we continuously demonstrated throughout the nineties and were arrested in 1996 and 2000 for our peaceful anti-Syrian demonstration, the whole world turned a blind eye.

When the main, anti-Syrian television station was forced to shut down and when tens if not hundreds of anti-Syrian journalists were questioned, threatened and even jailed, the international media failed to highlight our struggles. Therefore, it is the duty of the international community to insure, this time around, that the democratic movement in Lebanon is protected, sustained and supported completely. We, Lebanese, can only do so much on! Our own when we are surrounded by not-so-friendly neighbours, Syria and Israel.
Lina Bitar, Beirut, Lebanon

As long as the same old corrupt politicians are in offices there is no hope for Lebanon
Moussa Faddoul, Toronto, Canada
The situation in Lebanon is much more complex than anyone can claim to understand. Feudal Lords control the general public like masters over slaves. There will only be hope for democracy and conviviality among the various Lebanese sects in Lebanon when young educated Lebanese faces (who understand that governing is a vocation and a responsibility not a family business) take leadership positions. As long as the same old corrupt politicians are in offices there is no hope for Lebanon.

If I had the power over Lebanon for one day, I would lock all the politicians in a room and refuse to release them until they solve their personal grudges toward one another, reconcile with each other, admit their mistakes and profess their willingness to surrender their positions to better qualified people who have no personal interest are who are not caught up with personal grudges. The country needs leaders, not bloodsucking war lords.
Moussa Faddoul, Toronto, Canada

The Lebanese are divided into various groups the same as every other state in the world. However we are only free and strong when we can openly discuss our differences and resort to solving our own problems without the outside interference. Only then can a tolerant, vibrant and strong society emerge. This is because no outsider, near or far, will have our interests at heart more than us. Whatever our differences are, the Lebanese are united in saying no to more occupation, say no to bloodshed and say no to brotherly enslavement.
Tony, UK

Lebanon has always been somewhat of a leader of the Middle East, dating back to influence of the French colonies it was the "Paris of the East". I believe that if any Middle Eastern country is going to become truly democratic it will be Lebanon heading the rest.
Colin Turner, VA, USA

I think a vote in Lebanon can have a greater effect then any vote going on in Iran. The people of Lebanon have tasted self rule - now it's a matter of what they will do with it. Whatever the results bring as long as it's a decision made by it's truly elected officials, is better then nothing.
Mike Daly, Miami, FL, USA

The main task of the new parliament is to promote democracy and tolerance
Zaher Nammour, Nottingham, UK
Violence attempting to undermine the unity of the Lebanese society will only result in more unification. The main task of the new parliament is to promote democracy and tolerance. The new government should get the power over the intelligence so to limit the ongoing influence of Syria. Hezbollah should be acknowledged as a political power as well as legitimate resistance. It should not be disarmed in the near future as it is the only guarantee against any Israeli military assault on Lebanon.
Zaher Nammour, Nottingham, UK

Yet another martyr has fallen! He was a victim of his strong belief in democracy and freedom. Let's hope that he is the last casualty in this war against tyranny and fear.
Nadim, Beirut, Lebanon

I am a Lebanese living in London, member of the Lebanese communist party. The assassination attack which killed former general secretary of the LCP, devastated all his comrades as well as the vast majority of the Lebanese people. Comrade Hawi was one of the very few leaders in Lebanon that fought political corruption, social issues and invasions for the last 50 years of his life. In 1982 comrade Hawi was the first leader in the left wing parties in Lebanon that introduced the Front National Resistance Movement against the Israelis occupation of the capital Beirut. He was totally against the wrong doing of the Syrian presence in Lebanon, especially after Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon, comrade Hawi suffered a great deal of pressure, harassments and threats from the Syrian, Lebanese intelligence services combined, which resulted in disabling the whole party in every way possible after.

However, comrade Hawi and as national and Arabic great figure was a great danger to all the intelligence services that ever tried to mess with the national security to impose a political agendas from Israel to Syria and few western countries. The list is long to come which did not start only on 14th Feb 2005 by killing the former prime minister Hariri, but since 1978 when comrade Kamal Jumblat was killed for exactly the same things comrade Hawi stood for.
Chadi Khalil, London

I hope that the Hariri alliance will stay on course and keep a non secular face, uniting 3 major religious fractions is an accomplishment by itself! This will hopefully open the door to a real democracy free of any form of feudality. We should all embrace this change and hope for the best. We already know the poor achievements of the previous government it's time to try something new!
Farid, Miami, USA

The time of the militia is almost over
Pierre-Henri Nicolas, France

It is essential for the Lebanese government to be free. Having got rid of Syria (to a certain extent), they now need to tackle Hezbollah - making it a political party without arms. The time of the militia is almost over. Israel is out. They should change their approach or be made to.
Pierre-Henri Nicolas, Brest, France

This election has already divided the Lebanese people into four major sectarian groups. Unless these group decide to draft a new non-sectarian election law, Lebanon may be headed into long period of instability. There will not be any improvement to the economy, nor will there be any solution to the young people who are leaving in great numbers.
Tom Sayed, NYC, USA

I don't see why everyone is calling all these people 'the opposition'. What exactly are they 'in opposition' to besides the Syrian presence? What is their political agenda for the country? On what basis has this been a 'democratic' election when people just voted for some guy who appeared out of nowhere with no prior political experience and just because he was the dead PM's son? Lebanon still has a very long way to go.
Farah, UK

Nothing will change in Lebanon. Like all Arab and African states the people need to open their eyes and awaken to the fact that the sons and widows of ex-leaders only can not do anything for their futures. Arabs like Africans must mature and elect people for what they have done and can do.
Ade, London, UK

I am very disappointed with international coverage of the recent Lebanese elections. Mr. Hariri's "anti-Syrian opposition alliance" can hardly be typified as anti-Syrian. This is misinformation, if not disinformation! The same old names and faces will be able to pursue their old policies, except this time, without a fig leaf.
Anon, Beirut, Lebanon

Hariri, will achieve a lot. We are all so proud of him. May God bless him and be with him in every step he takes..
Farah S, France

It will take several years for a full transition
Jason, Detroit, USA
Another step towards a more democratic Middle East. Hopefully this is also a step away from terrorism and violence. It will take several years for a full transition, but it's promising to see some progress in the direction of freedom and democracy.
Jason, Detroit, USA

It is difficult to know what Mr Hariri can achieve. However, I hope that any changes to Lebanon are beneficial and do not create tension or division in Lebanese society. I would hope that anyone who may disagree with Mr Hariri addresses their concerns through their elected representatives and not through violence. I would also hope that Mr Hariri has the good grace and good sense to listen to the opinions of others and acknowledge when he is wrong. It seems to me the Lebanese are a resourceful, intelligent and highly-cultured people and they deserve leaders of the same calibre.
James Phennah, Solihull, UK

What has happened is a positive step in the right direction. But let us be realistic. There is a rough road ahead and we are not in the clear. There is yet a political party that is to run at the national level with a national agenda of issues. Therefore, people are still voting along sectarian lines. Currently, what we have is a temporary coalition of groups of people (not political parties) that will fizzle away once the Parliament starts to deal with every day issues. What you vote for is never what you get. Lebanon must move to a multi-party based system that deals with national issues.
Haitham, Canada

The elected have won due to who they are and not because of their policies
Niroda Abboud, Kuwait
Changing leadership will have little consequence on the Lebanese social, economic and political situation. The electorate still identify themselves and vote according to sectarian, regional and family affiliation. The elected have won due to who they are and not because of their policies. Inevitably this means that Lebanon will still be ruled by foreign governments, local and Western, who have more influence on the Lebanese politician than the electorate will ever have.
Niroda Abboud, Kuwait

Lebanon has the talent and elements to be the model for co-existence and democracy in a new Middle East. It needs new blood and energy from the new generation to create secularism and get rid of corruption. It needs the financial and moral support of the West.
Faysal M. Hasan, Marblehead, USA

What Lebanon really needs is that to be left alone without any foreign interference! What happened is just a switch from a Syrian domination on the Lebanese political life to another foreign one. That's not the kind of change the country needs.
100% Lebanese, Beirut, Lebanon

This is just opportunistic political propaganda. When the dust settles, the reality of having Syria as a physical neighbour with some regional influence is what Lebanon will have to live with. Hating and being anti your neighbour is never a wise move in the long run.
Cedric, Victoria, Seychelles

If you're a patriot then focus on Lebanon not your own town or religion or political alliance
Sean Tout, San Jose, CA
I'm rather puzzled to see so many complaints. Do remember one thing: We're finally free. The opposition has finally given us back our freedom and thus deserved a long awaited win. Let us stop the whining, political and religious accusations. We have enormous challenges ahead of us. If you're a patriot then focus on Lebanon not your own town or religion or political alliance.
Sean Tout, San Jose, CA

I really admire all those who expressed their opinions about whether the Lebanese elections would bring any change or not. I believe the problem is not the politicians only; it is mainly the people themselves and the whole existing sectarian system. That is what the latest election's results showed, people from each sect vote for their politicians (not excluding anyone)! Unfortunately, this shows that people have not forgotten the civil war yet and they still hold grudges. A new Lebanon demands a true secular system, a system in which each Lebanese looks at other Lebanese as humans having the same rights. Implementing such a system requires a change in mentality; it requires a modern educational system; it requires that parents stop pumping their children's minds with all kinds of hatred for the other sects in the name of religion because all religions call for the respect and love for others. Unfortunately, such a change can not happen overnight, it requires time and mainly dedicated people who truly believe in that. Considering the current prevailing conditions, this looks like a dream that is far from coming true. To sum up, the outcome of this elections or any future elections would not and will not bring any change unless the whole system changes.
True Lebanese, USA

The Hezbollah question has to be resolved. All parties, including the Hariri movement, cannot continue to tip-toe around the issue. Lebanon simply cannot have two armies, and the country's Shiite forces should not have stronger allegiances to Iran and Syria than they do to Lebanon. Change will depend on how the new parliament and government manage this huge hurdle.
Jean Akouri, Tripoli, Lebanon

Lebanon has overcome all adversities in the past, ranging from civil wars to Israeli invasion. The will of the Lebanese is in motion in a somewhat democratic system where Christians, Muslims and Druze are choosing their leaders without hesitation and without Western interference.
Ahmad Elhage, Wollongong, Australia

I truly wish the Lebanese people best of luck with their new found freedom from Syria. As a Syrian myself in exile, I take it with lots of pride when I hear someone or a country did manage to get rid of the Syrian oppression. I hope this new found freedom is contagious; rub it on the Syrians too. We need to wake up and live as human beings, free and proud like any other nation. Happy for you Lebanon.
M, Toronto, Canada

These elections will not bring about stability
Lionel, Singapore
These elections will not bring about stability for the country. It is just a semblance of democratic process. Stability or instability is the result of forces at play. The leaders of these forces must come to an agreement first before any real peace can be established.
Lionel, Singapore

Lebanon has overcome all adversities in the past, ranging from civil wars to Israeli invasion. The will of the Lebanese is in motion in a somewhat democratic system where Christians, Muslims and Druze are choosing their leaders without hesitation and without Western interference.
Ahmad Elhage, Wollongong, Australia

it is total nonsense and utter rubbish to think that Hezbollah is the stumbling block in stability in Lebanon. had it not been for Hezbollah Lebanon would have been another Palestine. The major problem in Lebanon's stability is the sectarianism which is beginning to evolve again, unfortunately.
Anonymous

No Lebanese leader can claim that they fought for free and democratic Lebanon more than Aoun. Hence, these accusations are just election scare tactics used to discredit him and will never work. One thing that his opponent underestimated, is the level of credibility that he has among people, who are willing to give him some slack in forging less than perfect alliances in order to achieve election viability.

Therefore, anytime they make those claims and insult people's intelligence they find themselves in deeper trouble among voters. Anybody that has an issue with General Aoun's alliances should blame the election law that forced him into that situation. Finally, the Free Patriotic Movement will bring transparency to government and put an end to corruption if there agenda succeed in parliament.
Mike M, Boston, USA

What Lebanon really needs is somebody new with fresh ideas to help the Lebanese people
Justin, Jumeriah, Dubai

Overall I think the outcome of the Lebanese elections will end with General Aoun winning. The winner of the elections will have to form an alliance with Syria and the Lebanese people. Hezbollah is still a major issue and stability in the Lebanon cannot be secured without first fixing this problem. Lebanon also needs someone to take charge of their huge debt problems.

What Lebanon really needs is a neutral president who can bring back stability to a country who has suffered the loss of Rafik Hariri and many changes in government and president. What Lebanon really needs is somebody new with fresh ideas to help the Lebanese people however I see little chance of this kind of president being elected
Justin, Jumeriah, Dubai

Lebanon has the respect and goodwill of all nations. This guarantees economic and political support to preserve our historic identity. Live in the real world, and prosper.
George Aziz, London, Canada

Let them step aside to bring in a new generation of Lebanese who know Lebanon for something other than the bitterness of the civil war
Antonia Asseily, Beirut

What saddens me is that since the end of the civil war, we've always had the same names, and none of these have ever delivered. Instead of old foes battling out yet another election (which as usual won't do much good for Lebanon), let them step aside to bring in a new generation of Lebanese who know Lebanon for something other than the bitterness of the civil war, so we can finally achieve independence. Emile Lahoud is the symbol of Syrian dominance; if he stays, we might as well pretend the events of the past few months never happened.
Antonia Asseily, Beirut, Lebanon

The alliances of General Aoun with some Pro-Syrian figures were criticized by everybody in Lebanon without even looking at the other alliances in the country. Didn't anyone see the alliance of Mr Hariri with Hezbollah in Beirut? Didn't anyone see the alliance of Mrs Hariri with Amal in the South?

Didn't anyone see the alliance of Mr Hariri with Amal in west Bekaa? I did not hear anyone criticizing the alliances of Hezbollah in Baalbek with the Pro-Syrian figures. When you want to open your eyes, make sure you open both of them.
Bachir, Beirut, Lebanon

Lebanon is at the crossroads: the wrong turn could have severe implications. The question of debt will have to be tackled otherwise this will be a permanent millstone which will hamper every chance of progress. Further Syria, Israel and Hezbollah have to desist from interfering in Lebanon if peace is to be given a chance. But this seems very unlikely as Michel Aoun has tremendous clout and has formed close alliances with pro-Syrian candidates. The future does not augur well at all for Lebanon as a consequence.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium

Stability will come with the understanding of the indigenous population that in order to survive with peaceful cohabitation that the state must cease with their isolationist attitude and engage in more productive trade with their immediate neighbours. This would breed far more understanding amongst the regional players of what each one is presently experiencing. Rhetoric just boils blood, wastes energy and wastes time.
Michael Ahmad, Toronto, Canada

Unfortunately the candidates for these elections are all symbols of the past, including Mr Aoun himself
Aman Teba, Valencia
All the Lebanese aspire for change and reform and the establishment of a real and stable democracy. Unfortunately the candidates for these elections are all symbols of the past, including Mr Aoun himself. I was a supporter of Aoun and his reforms until his alliances started to show how contradictory he is.

How could he speak about fighting feudalism and corruption when he is allying himself with symbols of the dark past of Lebanon? People that are using him to actually stay in power. They can't want change if they are the people we want to go! I hope the future proves I'm wrong. My only hope is knowing that the international community is going to keep the pressure up to push Lebanon into a brighter future.
Aman Teba, Valencia, Spain

Provided that the Syrian regime still has its infrastructure in Lebanon, and it needs quite a long period to live it off, Michel Aoun couldn't aim at winning in the elections, being a freshman, without uniting or pretending to unite with some of the pro-Syrians; till now his pro-Syrian allies lost, unlike him. On the other hand, politicians such as Jumblat are much more doubtful for their habit of changing colour upon their political mood.

Another point is that in light of today's surprising alliances and by-hour changing political wind it is difficult to say what will become of the very anti-Syrian opposition after the actors of today's Lebanese political theatre will take their seats in Parliament. I am not much of a fan of anyone in politics and have never been but the very fate of Michel Aoun and his present determination have had an effect on me.

I just hope Michel Aoun has learnt the lesson of the past very well, especially now that life and world's history gave him a second chance? Mr Aoun, we've given you our trust, do not let us down! Irene El-Sayegh, Beirut, Lebanon.
Irene, Beirut, Lebanon

Now that the so-called Syrian Occupation of Lebanon has been brought to end, I think it's time that the Lebanese assert themselves and prove to the world that they really have become autonomous. I am not so optimistic, however, especially if we closely look at what's been happening in Lebanon's political arena over the past few weeks.

A new occupation in form of guardianship which is far worse than the Syrian Occupation has come into the picture. It is far more damaging in that the new guardianship, the French, the Saudis and the Americans, are each supporting a different ethnic group which may cause chaos like we see already, word fight between Jumblat and Aoun.
Mansour Seraj, Amran, Yemen

The next challenge to face is the increasing Saudi interference in Lebanese affairs
Chadi, Lebanon
Aoun was an enemy of Syria in Lebanon. Now, Syrians have left, and the file is closed. Of course, some allies of the Syrian regime are still in the country. But the next challenge to face is the increasing Saudi interference in Lebanese affairs, through the Hariri-Jumblat alliance. We did not fight against our independence to sell out our destiny for some oil-wealthy sheikhs. I am not a supporter of Aoun, but by voting for him, I did not vote for a man, I claimed my dignity as a Lebanese.
Chadi, Lebanon

Lebanon is more than ready for change. Aoun appears to be the answer. Syria withdrew because of his 15 year push for Lebanese sovereignty. I believe he will represent all Lebanese and carry on the changes needed for a better future. Aoun is not in it for himself but rather will make it a point to implement his agenda. Good and peaceful relations will be established with both neighbours. Israel will withdraw from the Shabaa Farms and Hezbollah will lay down their weapons. US foreign policy must also be acknowledged.
George A, Houston

Why bother and vote? Lebanese politics are just old feudal and tribal system with a cover of democracy. Whether you vote or not, it won't change much to the picture. Power is directly bought by money in this country and all this noise isn't going to bring us far. I can see the Baathists in Damascus already rubbing their hands at the chaos, and maybe another tribal war, that will follow these elections in Lebanon.
Oscar Lima, London, UK

Michel Aoun is the right leader in the wrong party for the Lebanese constituents. This election will certainly not resolve the tensed controversies which rose on Hariri's assassination. Political environment in Lebanon will gradually head towards dubious complications, as lurking dangers of Syria, Israel and Hezbollah will haunt this territory in future.
Rishan Abeed, Yongdok, South Korea

Michael Aoun is no Charles de Gaulle
Natige Kaddoura, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
People from West Beirut will never forget and forgive Michael Aoun for shelling their city in the name of liberation from Syria; whom he supports now. Obviously, Aoun has made a deal with the devil himself in order to get what any politician wants: the chair of Baabda Palace. The only difference is that other politicians like Rene Mouwad and Rafik Hariri didn't want to sell their soul for it. So they paid the ultimate price. Make no mistake: Michael Aoun is no Charles de Gaulle.
Natige Kaddoura, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

I am Lebanese and a Shia Muslim, and I voted for Michel Aoun. He does not only represent Christians. He represents all Lebanese who wish for a change towards a more democratic and free country.
Ali, Baabda, Lebanon

I wish I could say that Michel Aoun would bring an end to sectarianism, but the feeling here is different. Chat with anyone over coffee, they'll say otherwise. Personally, I have an issue with Aoun's credibility. He has perhaps been saying the same thing for 15 years, (bravo consistent, let's get Syria out) but has now aligned himself with the staunchest pro-Syrians. Michel El Murr? What? It's an insult to the people who have followed him and demonstrated for him. That's also a combination of blood on hands. And today as I read the papers, he draws more pro-Syrian allies. How people still view him as "clean" and straightforward, I don't know.
Joumana, Beirut, Lebanon

As long as Hezbollah is permitted to use Lebanon as a base to wage war against Israel, there will be no stability and no peace. The presence of a large armed force independent of the central government means that Lebanon does not have full sovereignty over its territory. This cannot be allowed to continue if the Lebanese people are to have any chance for a peaceful and prosperous future. As Hezbollah will not disarm or leave voluntarily, the government must neutralize them or it will remain their hostage.
Mark, USA

Lebanon's post election picture seems to be heading towards three major parliamentary blocks: pro-Aoun, Jumblat-Hariri opposition, and Hezbollah resistance with no clear majority for either. This model can only lead to governance by consensus agenda. The opposition's agenda is to unseat president Emile Lahoud, whilst Hezbollah's agenda is to resist international pressure to disarm and does not necessarily favour unseating the president. Aoun's logical path to the presidency can only be to support the opposition's drive to remove the president on condition that they support his candidacy. In the same vein, he must promise to protect Hezbollah in return for their support of his presidential ambitions.
Ghassan Eid, Nyon, Switzerland

Aoun has always been anti-Syrian and those who claim otherwise are kidding themselves
Ali, Montreal, Canada
Aoun aligning himself with some pro-Syrian politicians is just a strategic move on his part to gain enough seats to offset any potential domino effect by Hariri and Jumblat in the new parliament. Aoun has always been anti-Syrian and those who claim otherwise are kidding themselves. Rest assured our Lebanon will not resort to another civil war.
Ali, Montreal, Canada

No sooner did Aoun group score its historic win than Jumblat is calling him a Syrian. Anyone who opposes anyone in Lebanon is a Syrian. Lebanon has turned its back on its own problems and made of Syria a scapegoat. I have no doubt Syria causes trouble for Lebanon, but it is not impossible for small nations in that region to preserve a degree of autonomy and even power. Syria is most likely only using what is already in place in Lebanon.
Robert, London

The victory of General Michel Aoun is not a victory of a pro-Syrian against the opposition...how could someone who fought against the Syrians for more than 17 years be accused of being pro-Syrian. Mr Aoun is misunderstood by many Lebanese. Mr Aoun is a historical figure of freedom, liberty, and the right of every individual to live freely, just like Mandela, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Churchill and many others; and History will testify for him...
Abdallah Chebly, Beirut, Lebanon

This has to be the funniest day in Lebanese politics! The person who hated Syria the most is today an agent of Syria. Welcome to Lebanese politics!
Amer, Lebanon

This is a great victory for the Syrian Regime. Aoun will seek to uphold the current regime until he becomes president. Then he will implement military rule as he did during his reign as interim prime minister during the war. His victory has all the markings of a dictators' rise to power. Congratulations to all who voted for him. I hope these are not the last free elections we see for a long time.
Anonymous, Beirut, Lebanon

Aoun has finally transformed himself into a real politician.
Ayman, London/Beirut
Aoun has finally transformed himself into a real politician, playing the Lebanese game as it should be; allying with whoever it takes to secure the legitimacy this elections has brought him (he allied himself to pro-Syrians who are known to invariably win elections in their constituencies, and shunned those who actively participated in Syrian dirty work). He is obviously eyeing the presidency next. It is impressive to behold by someone who has always been known as Mr Faux-Pas. The balance of leadership that has now appeared: Hariri for the Sunnis, Jumblat for the Druze, Hezbollah for the Shia, and Aoun for the Christians, all well represented in the parliament, will soon provide a real stability for the country. All talk of civil war is pure scaremongering.
Ayman, London/Beirut

I think that General Aoun has demonstrated that Democracy in Lebanon and the Middle East in general is a possibility. People will topple the ruling class if given the chance by democratic means and this is exactly what happened to the Christian ruling class. I wish he had the time earlier to organize for the Beirut and the South elections, perhaps we would have seen some democracy there too. Syria has indeed completely withdrawn from Lebanon, otherwise you would have seen the original pro-Syrian politicians win a few seats in the Christian sectors.
Mounir, Gemayzeh, Lebanon

Until Hezbollah with its Syrian and Iranian masters is liquidated, there will always be trouble in Lebanon. Aoun's victory is the symptom of all this.
Jamil Baroody, Jeddah, Arabia

The people of Lebanon need to stop blaming all of their troubles on us Syrians. Our government certainly has not done Lebanon justice in the past, but your freedom is now in your own hands, so run with it. The Lebanese people shouldn't ignore their country's significant sectarian troubles. The hatred towards Syria is only an example of what the different factions in Lebanon feel about each other.
Wassim, Atlanta, USA

The victory of the Free Patriotic Movement Led by Aoun is a victory of the reform agenda. The battle is no more between pro and anti Syrians, it is between reformists and traditionalists.
Elias, Ottawa, Canada

From BBCArabic.com: Looking through all the changes that are taking place, I find Aoun the only one to be trusted among all who raised their voices for Lebanon. He was genuine, the rest were false - mere talk to play on our good and simple people for the sake of the interests of the so-called opposition and power seekers. Aoun alone stood by what he thought. I hope he will feel the suffering of this people and amend the laws of the land which favour only the rich, so that all, both Muslims and Christians, can enjoy equal rights.
Rita, Lebanon

From BBCArabic.com: Aoun's victory was expected. He's become a national figure for a wide swathe of the Lebanese political spectrum. Besides, Aoun's alliance with Hezbollah should not come as a great surprise. After all, Aoun is the only Maronite who did not target either Shia or Sunnis. His war was against the Syrian occupation of Lebanon.
Abu Mohamed Shamari, Copenhagen, Denmark

From BBCArabic.com: I find it quite mind-boggling what goes on in Lebanon by way of unexpected alliances and political change of heart. Not long ago Aoun was an avowed enemy of all that was pro-Syrian. Today, he allies himself to Erslan and Franjieh, both pro-Syrian. It seems to me that in Lebanon there are only bizarre alliances, with everyone all but concerned with their own gain.
Ziad, Jordan

From BBCArabic.com: Gen Aoun is the only man who can rally so many around him. More importantly, he has a clear reform programme, unlike the rest in the opposition, who don't seem to have any blueprint for the post-Syrian withdrawal and election era.
Roger, Syria

Mr Aoun won his seats through the democratic process with the blessing of the Lebanese people. Certain individuals need to grow out of the blame culture, and stop pointing the finger at Syria whenever they lose. We know what the rest of the world wants, through all its aggressive and military rhetoric, but the Lebanese people have the final say on their country, so let them speak and decide their own fate.
Ibrahim, London, UK

The Lebanese will be doing the same mistake twice; aligning with a pro-Syrian candidate will only secure continued Syrian involvement in Lebanon, a situation none of the Lebanese or the international community want. This pushes Lebanese away from freedom and towards more instability and suppression
Rasha Karim, Cairo, Egypt

Aoun, a strong opposition leader and a person seeking to improve politics in Lebanon and to stop all misuse of politics, his only problem is that his mentality is of an army leader (stubborn and has no compromise).
Salim Owaini, Leeds, UK

The thing about democracy and freedom is that, for western governments, it sometimes doesn't give them the results that they want. So in Lebanon you have a pro-Syrian government which includes a large Hezbollah contingency and in Palestine, you get Hamas. If the West is really genuine about democracy then it should recognise these two groups because unless it does, then the message for the Arab world is that democracy only matters when they vote the way the West wants then to, which is not democracy at all.
Bilal Patel, London, UK

Isn't anyone questioning the integrity of someone who is, to all intents and purposes, changing sides (even if after 20 odd years) in order to get a second bite at the cherry? I don't see how this will bring peace to Lebanon. Knowing Lebanon's history, God help them, it will probably take them in the opposite direction.
Valerie, Amman, Jordan

I hope Aoun remains committed to the cause that over a million Lebanese demonstrated for - a free and independent Lebanon
Mike, New York, New York USA
Michel Aoun's victory is a clear indication that Lebanese Christians want their political voice back through a larger than life figure, like Aoun, to match that of other confessions. Although he has allied himself with some pro-Syrian politicians, I hope Aoun remains committed to the cause that over a million Lebanese demonstrated for this past March - a free and independent Lebanon. I'm sorry to say that Syrian agents are certainly still in Lebanon and will likely remain there until the Baath regime in Damascus eventually collapses and Syrians become free from their own dictatorial and corrupt government.
Mike, New York, New York USA

I have my doubts that Lebanon will ever live in peace. Syria will always try to sabotage the attempts of the Lebanese to maintain democracy. But seeing Aoun changing sides from anti-Syria to pro-Syria faction makes me wonder: Can Syria accept him being pro-Syrian? Will the Lebanese Parliament be divided according to religion or political factions? Or there will be another civil war and another Rafik Hariri? These are the questions the Lebanese must solve before Lebanon sinks into another civil war.
Firdaus, Singapore

Mr Aoun's victory is the first step in a return to violence
Charbel Youssef, London
The elections will change nothing in Lebanon. The withdrawal of Syrian troops will change nothing in Lebanon, My country is run totally on bribes and corruption. We can cover the truth with sand but they wind will come and problems arise once more. Hezbollah need to Disarm and Syria needs to remove the dark shadow it has left over Lebanon. Mr Aoun's victory is the first step in a return to violence.
Charbel Youssef, London, United Kingdom

I think this is a great achievement for the Lebanese democracy. Michel Aoun is a very honest person and we need someone like him to clean some of the corruption that we have been living in the last decades in Lebanon. Hope he will succeed against the petrodollar men. And another important figure to note here is that he is not sectarian.
Marcel, London, UK

The Lebanese will be doing the same mistake twice; aligning with a pro-Syrian candidate will only secure continued Syrian involvement in Lebanon, a situation none of the Lebanese or the international community want. This pushes Lebanese away from freedom and towards more instability and suppression
Rasha Karim, Cairo, Egypt

The Lebanese people have the final say on their country, so let them speak and decide their own fate
Ibrahim, London, UK
Mr Aoun won his seats through the democratic process with the blessing of the Lebanese people. Certain individuals need to grow out of the blame culture, and stop pointing the finger at Syria whenever they lose. We know what the rest of the world wants, through all its aggressive and military rhetoric, but the Lebanese people have the final say on their country, so let them speak and decide their own fate.
Ibrahim, London, UK

Aoun's victory is the only true course to end of confessionalism. His party's main objective is to form a true party system in Lebanon, not one based on Sectarianism.
Ahmad, Saida

Aoun is the only person that was against Syria since it entered Lebanon, and winning the election is a proof that the Lebanese people believe in him and know that what he does is correct. Isn't Michel Aoun the person who went to the congress to propose a plan to free Lebanon? Isn't he the only person who fought Syria when others were fighting each other? I think that he deserves even more than this.
Dory, Lebanon

This is a political gimmick designed by the pro-Syrian regime to win the election
Shib SenChaudhury, Calcutta, India
This is a political gimmick designed by the pro-Syrian regime to win the election. Aoun's victory will suppress the controversy that emerged on Rafik Hariri's assassination. Upsets and splits between the candidates of the coalition are likely in future due to ideological dissimilarities when the government commences its function.
Shib SenChaudhury, Calcutta, India

The elections will not bring stability because the Hezbollah don't care about democracy and will use force if they doesn't get their way. Neither will Syria allow the people of Lebanon to live in peace.
Anonymous




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