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#FragileMosaic - Beirut after vote. The Hezbollah’s triumph

The journey of the Overthefortress campaign in Lebanon

8 May 2018

- "Fragile Mosaico", the crowdfunding on Produzioni dal Basso to support the multimedia reportage from Lebanon and the new documentary: http://sostieni.link/17836

Translation by Carlo Geromel.

Beirut. Clashes, tensions and reports of vote rigging during the Lebanese elections. The main outcome is the abstention and the spreading of the opposite extremism: Shia Hezbollah, that got more than the half of the polls, and the phalangists from the Free Patriotic Movement (Fpm).

The counting session was quite calm, also due to the large military forces who were settled on the most troubled areas, completely covered by flags and manifests. On the election’s eve some supporters got seriously injured because of a shooting between Sunni groups based in Beirut. On Monday, nothing worrying happened. Only few hundreds of activists demonstrated against some suspected vote rigging. In the night things changed, several hundreds of Hezbollah militants came from the South with their motorbikes to celebrate the victory in the only way they are used to do: shooting randomly with the machine-gun.

The main outcome of these elections is that the turnout at the polls has decreased. Only the 49,2 % of the people voted. Even though, the Prime Minister Saad Hariri tried to delay the closure of the vote and to convince the population to go to vote, through its supporters who invaded the streets with cars and informal rallies until late night.

The low turnout has really penalized the Government’s party, that was accused of scandals, corruption, negligence about the public electric network or the garbage service system (three hours per day the electricity is off in the capital city). It was also blamed for the foreign policy, the too many favoritisms to the Maronites and the inabilities to manage the real issues of the country, just like the presence of one million displaced people in the Lebanese territory.
Shia integralist Islamists and their Maronites allies from the Free Patriotic Moment are in the same coalition and they got the most of the votes. The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akbhar, with positions close to Hezbollah, published a picture of an humiliated Hariri titled “the slap”.

Claims of vote riggings come from the party Li Baladi, led by the feminist journalist and writer Joumana Haddad. This party goes over the religious belonging and it’s bound to struggle for civil rights. During the counting session a suspected system shutdown occurred and seems that one poll won by the Li Baladi party (and its coalition called Kull Watani) were transformed into a FPM poll. This is only one of the 7300 cases of suspected vote rigging reported by independent observers.

But what’s going to happen at the top of the Government with the Hezbollah’s victory?
The right answer is: nothing. The most common forecast is that Hariri will be designated once again. That’s because of the Constitution that imposes a Sunni Prime Minister. Moreover, the new electoral system does not allow any changes and is bound to keep the proportional balance of power. The results, in other words, were already written.

What is going to change is the role of the country in the Middle East fragile mosaic. The Irani’s influence will be stronger in Lebanon so, the Hariri’s plan to weaken and disarm Hezbollah has definitely failed. An Israeli armed intervention is more possible now. For Israel the fear to be surrounded by Hezbollah is very felt now. For the main Israeli’s media the slogan is this: Lebanon means Hezbollah. It looks that history is going back of 36 years.