Aoun poised for an unexpected win in Mount Lebanon
by Youssef Hourany
Early results indicate that General Michel Aoun will win all 15 seats in the region. Disappointment for "Kornet Chehwan", the list headed by Archbishop Joseph Bechara. The high turnout marks a new "reality for the country".

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Sunday June 12 will go down as a first in the political history of Lebanon because of its very high turnout in the ongoing parliamentary elections; over 65 per cent of registered voters exercised their right to vote.

For many analysts, this represents a new reality for the country and demonstrates a new willingness by the Lebanese to believe in a new Lebanon.

Local Christians were however both surprised and disappointed. The almost certain victory of General Michel Aoun was surprising because he was able to come back after 15 years in exile and win all 15 seats in Mount Lebanon. The members of the "Kornet Chehwan" Gathering, the list created in 2000 by the Archbishop of Antelias, Mgr Joseph Bechara, that he also headed, were disappointed. Made up of opposition members, its results were a total disaster.

After the vote count, which saw long-time members of Lebanon's political intelligentsia Fares Soueid and Mansour Bonn fail to win a post, the list was 'ipso facto' dissolved.

As the newly-elected member of the National Assembly for Kesrouan-Jbeil, Farid Elias El Khazen told AsiaNews, "now Christians have only one leader, General Aoun".

"It's all done," Aoun said after the results were in, "now it is up to the Lebanese to join forces".

A significant result was the victory by the lists backed by opposition leader Walid Jumblatt, Lebanese Forces' leader Samir Geagea, Hariri and Hizbollah in Baabda-Alley.

Nabil Ncoula Hachem, a MNA elected on Aoun's list in Metn, told AsiaNews that "the opposition won a small victory. In practice, the vote difference was very small."

In an interview with AsiaNews, Minister Suleiman Frangieh, a Maronite leader, said that "despite everything, all our lists will win in next Sunday's last round of voting in northern Lebanon, where we have a strong alliance with General Michel Aoun".