Wednesday, June 10, 2009

All is fair in love and politics in Lebanon providing - you don't have to live with the daily result

I was going to do a longish piece on the Lebanese election, a kind of Amazonian Primer in the 101 Dummies mode but all the published election result is by district candidates and no final tallies are given for parties/seats. So it is going to have to wait while I go through the district candidates list and align their party affiliation. Instead I want to leave you with a little food for thought on the charges of ‘hampering” or hedging one’s vote in Lebanon. The First one is from Ynet News and is oh so predictable.
Lebanese Telecommunication Minister Gibran Bassil accused Israel on Tuesday of causing massive disruptions in cellular communication in the country ahead and on Election Day on Sunday. conference at his office Bassil claimed that inquiries conducted by his ministry revealed Israel was responsible for jamming cellular signals and interrupting communication among private users, defense officials, political activists and embassies. Bassil said he asked Lebanon's foreign minister to issue a formal complaint with the UN regarding the alleged disruption.
The second comes from the CBC news report which might suggest the March 14th Coalition victory might owe more to do with Saudi largess rather winning the hearts and minds of the Lebanese who actually live in Lebanon and have to live with the result.
Canadians who are flying to Lebanon on free plane tickets provided by party supporters could tip the difference in a close parliamentary election in that country. Corporate sponsors are paying for hundreds of supporters of the pro-Western Future Movement in Calgary and in other Canadian cities to vote on June 7, CBC News has learned. Dual citizens must be physically present in Lebanon to cast a ballot in its elections.

"This is a big election, and it is a lot of people who [would] love to vote but they cannot vote because of funds … so those companies are making it easy for them," said Faouzi Salem, a Future Movement co-ordinator in Calgary.

"There [are] sponsors in the world who [pay] for those tickets … European companies, Middle Eastern companies who … they would love to see free Lebanon, independent Lebanon. They want to see democratic government in the future, so they're dedicating all their supports." The party has rented an office in a Calgary mosque where volunteers have been working to match people of Lebanese descent with tickets to Beirut.

Sam Hammoud's uncle is one of the people flying to Lebanon for the election. "It's the sense that I have a say in my own country. I still have ties to my own country, whether I live here or not," said Hammoud. "He said, 'why not, why not?' So he's going. All he has to do is vote and head right back home to Canada."
Indeed. I am no Hezbollah fan but I still take a very dim view of foreign funding in anyone's election.

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