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Who should win?
The elections in Lebanon are being widely influenced by external forces this time, experts tell Arab News.
June 7, 2009 11:02 by Omaima Al-Fardan
The d-day has arrived in Lebanon, and as the country elects its new government, experts say that that the new government could be partial to external influences, and that the vertical divide of coalitions would affect the character of the country.
The election is mainly being fought by the Hezbollah-dominated March 8 coalition on the one side and the Sunni-dominated March 14 coalition on the other – both parties include the nation’s Christian minorities.
It would be against the interests of Lebanon for the Hezbollah-dominated March 8 coalition to win the country’s parliamentary election, said Waheed Hashem, professor of political study at King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He said such a win would pose a real challenge to Lebanon, deeply affecting all of the country’s sectors, including tourism.
According to Hashem, the political conflict reminds one of the Lebanese civil war and that a March 14 win would open up many opportunities for Lebanon. He also said that the regional and international importance of the Lebanese election could not be ignored.
Sarhan Al-Otaibi, professor of political science at King Saud University, agreed, and said since Rafik Hariri’s assassination, the role of external factors (Iranian, Syrian, Middle Eastern, American and French) in internal Lebanese political affairs is widely visible. The conflict and lack of harmony between these regional and international elements is the main reason that has dragged Lebanon into this mess in the first place, he said. “If the Lebanese people want to adapt a balanced policy that serves Lebanese interests in the first place, then there should be understanding between the two coalitions. This should have not been left to outside forces to determine,” he said.
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