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Lebanon’s Parliamentary Elections: Hezbollah to Let Down Aoun in Jezzine

Lebanon’s Parliamentary Elections: Hezbollah to Let Down Aoun in Jezzine

Thursday, 25 January, 2018 - 11:30
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah shakes hands with Christian leader General Michel Aoun during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon on February 6, 2006 [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

The Sidon-Jezzine constituency is one of the 15 most important electoral districts that will witness a battle of “settling accounts” between President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. This will put Hezbollah in an undesirable position, especially as it will have to direct its votes towards one of the two main lists: one supported by the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the other by Amal Movement.

The electoral district - which includes Sidon and Jezzine based on the new electoral law - has 5 electoral seats divided as follows, distributed among the Sunnis (2 seats), Maronites (2 seats) and the Catholics (1 seat).

Election experts confirmed that the distribution of seats among the political forces was almost conclusive. However, only one Maronite seat would be subject to an electoral battle, which would renew the conflict between Aoun and Berri, as the latter publicly supports candidate Ibrahim Azar, while the former supports the FPM candidates Ziad Aswad and Amal Abu Zeid.

The electoral battle between the two leaders ended in 2009 in favor of Aoun. Therefore, the Speaker of Parliament is exerting all his efforts to “retaliate against the previous loss and settle many accounts with the President.”

Around 121 thousand voters are expected to cast their ballots in the Sidon-Jezzine district. They are distributed between 62 thousand in Sidon and 59 thousand in Jezzine. The Muslim weight is concentrated in Sidon, while the Christian weight in Jezzine.

Researcher at Information International Mohammed Shamseddine said that the latest data indicated the formation of between five and six electoral lists, including a list formed of the Future Movement and the FPM, which will be able to secure three out of five seats, and a list gathering Secretary General of the Popular Nasserite Organization Osama Saad with candidate Ibrahim Azar - who is mainly backed by the Amal Movement - and will be able to win two seats.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Shamseddine noted that MP Bahiya Hariri and one Maronite candidate were likely to win in the first list, while Saad will take over a seat in the other list.

The battle will be confined to either the Catholic or Maronite seats, with Aoun and Berri focusing their attention on winning the Maronite seat, according to Shamseddine.

In this district, attention is drawn to the likelihood that Hezbollah will be lined up alongside Amal in the face of the FPM. In other districts, the party has tried to avoid embarrassment by taking Aoun’s side, but it would not succeed to do the same in the Sidon-Jezzine constituency due to its complexity.

In this regard, sources in the March 8 Forces, close to Hezbollah, say that the party has decided not to give its votes to any list that includes the Future Movement, even if it includes its FPM ally.

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