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Last Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK
Lebanese Christian voices
Three people from different Lebanese Christian communities reflect on Sunday's by-elections, which saw a government seat fall to an opposition candidate.

Sunday's battle in the Maronite Christian district of Metn was seen as a key test between the two main Christian candidates for the upcoming presidential election: Amin Gemayel and General Michel Aoun.

In one key battle, the candidate representing General Aoun won by a slim margin over Mr Gemayel, a former president who was hoping to win the seat held by his murdered son, Pierre Gemayel.


I certainly don't support the Lebanese opposition, but I don't really support the government either. I see both sides as losing this election [in the Metn district].

You get really fed up with the same names fighting for power
Amin Gemayel managed to lose, despite people feeling sorry for him that his son was killed. He is an ex-president from a big political family - and he still failed to secure the seat.

On the other hand, Michel Aoun cannot talk about a victory either. His candidate won very narrowly. As Aoun pretends to be the sole representative of the Christian community, this is not the sort of victory he hoped for.

This result will divide us further.

I would love to see someone very new come through for the presidency.

You get really fed up with the same names fighting for power. Gemayel, Aoun - they failed in the 1980s and here they are again.

We have many great figures outside Lebanon who could lead us to consensus. Ghassan Salame, who works for the United Nations, or the CEO of Nissan, Carlos Ghosn. These are the sort of people who should lead this country.

I don't know if they're Maronite Christian, Muslim, whatever - and frankly I don't care.


I don't belong to any political party, but I support the opposition.

Of course this is a victory for the opposition - for the opposition as a whole, not just one person.

However, I think the Syrians are the happiest people in the world right now. When they see us fighting like this, they like it.

But I don't think Syria's interference in Lebanon is as great as the interference from France or the US.

In our Christian community our greatest fear is al-Qaeda in Lebanon. The government denies the existence of al-Qaeda here by saying that it's the fault of Syrian intelligence.

We Armenians support the opposition because [the late Prime Minister] Rafik Hariri tried to divide our community. And his son is continuing the same agenda his father had.

I would be happy if the opposition got the presidency. I don't necessarily want General Aoun to be president, I just want the president to represent the opposition.


Politically, I'm indifferent. The election was very close and I think it proves that no one person is in control.

We whine and whine about our politicians - and then vote the same people back in
I'm a bit scared of General Aoun's behaviour. He may be a good man and nationalistic, but I'm not much in favour of army people being in power.

In the Christian arena especially, politicians are not acting in the national interest. The elections should be about ethics, not selfishness.

We Lebanese don't hold our politicians accountable enough. We whine and whine and whine about them, but then we vote the same people back in.

Most politicians here are from historically powerful families; their grandfathers and great grandfathers were in politics.

Our political culture doesn't create opportunities for newcomers.

We'd like to be without Syrian influence; we have to get permission from Syria before we can even breathe. Would you like to live like this?

But it will end. I like to think we can light the candle and see the end of the tunnel.

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