2005 June 07 Tuesday
Hezbollah Wins Elections In South Lebanon

Pro-Syrian parties swept elections in southern Lebanon.

BEIRUT, June 6 -- Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian allies celebrated their sweep of Sunday's elections in southern Lebanon, while in Damascus, officials of Syria's ruling party gathered Monday for a meeting where President Bashar Assad focused on economic and governance matters rather than broad change in the political system. Politicians from Hezbollah, an armed Shiite Muslim movement that was allied in the election with the mainstream Amal party, sought to portray the election results as a rebuff to international calls for its disarmament. Official results showed candidates on the Shiite parties' list outpolling their nearest opponents by ratios of about 10 to one.

Remember why Syrian troops were in Lebanon in the first place: The various groups in Lebanon fought a many year civil war with each other. In some other parts of Lebanon Hezbollah and Amal couldn't win a single seat. The various groups and regions are deeply divided. Deep divisions are not favorable conditions for successful democracy.

There is a possibility that pro-Syrian parties will get a majority in the Lebanese parliament.

The next two rounds of voting, this Sunday and on June 19, will be more hotly contested than the first two, and will determine whether the anti-Syrian opposition achieves a majority.

Suppose the pro-Syrian faction achieves a majority. Will Condi Rice hail the result as a victory for democracy? Will George W. Bush point to it as beneficial result of the US invasion of Iraq?

This brings to mind Saudi Arabia's April 2005 municipal advisory council elections in which Islamists won the most seats.

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia, April 23 -- Saudi Arabia's limited 10-week experiment with electoral democracy ended here Saturday in a sweeping victory for slates of Islamic activists marketed as the "Golden List," who used grass-roots organizing, digital technology and endorsements from popular religious leaders to defeat their liberal and tribal rivals, even here in Jiddah, for decades Saudi Arabia's most diverse and business-driven city.

Shiites won many of the seats in the Eastern oil region where Shiites are a majority.

Imagine a Saudi Arabia where the monarchy was replaced with a democratically elected government. The Sunni majority's elected leaders might persecute the Shia minority more than the monarchy does. Given an illiberal voting majority dictatorship of the majority will be harsh.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 June 07 09:22 AM  Reconstruction and Reformation

Steve Sailer said at June 7, 2005 8:02 PM:

I believe the seats are still gerrymandered against the Shi'ites based on the 1932 Census, even though the Shi'ite population has grown much faster than the Christian or Sunni. With half the representation reserved for Christians (I believe), Hezbollah can't win a majority in seats, but it can get awfully sore about being denied one man one vote.

Stephen said at June 7, 2005 8:55 PM:

It looks like the Christian over-representation was removed in 1989.

According to the entry the Lebanon has an odd system (to western eyes) which divides seats based on the religious affiliation of the residents. The article claims that gerrymandering remains an issue - though the boot is now on the other foot.

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