Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Electoral Analysis Part II

Now to the numbers, but before that a brief sum up of the situation: Tensions are sky high in the Metn area. I fear that the elections will be wrought with violence and increased divisions between the two main factions (especially on the Christian side)

Meanwhile the army had to reinforce its deployment in the Metn and Beirut to enforce order, so between the North and South deployment and the border patrols with Syria the army is spread very, very thin.

The numbers: I collected these numbers from several sources, and are mostly based on the 2005 election and my own analysis. One of my main sources is Abdo Saad, a political analyst specialized in electoral statistics, but who heavily leans toward Aoun and his allies, and writes in the Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is backed by Hezblollah,. (Check out his articles on the elections here and here).

The main forces:

Kateb (the Phanlages) and their allies (14 March, LF…); Aoun and his supporters ( Baath party and SSNP both syria’s allies. I never thought I would ever say that Aoun is the ally of these two parties that have specialized in following Syria’s orders and killing Lebanese …); The Tachnak ( an Armenian party); and Michel Murr

The numbers:

31000 for the Kateb and their allies

30000 for Aoun and his allies

7000 Tachnak

14000 for Murr

Most analysts agree that Aoun lost some of his support among Christians, putting a number to that loss is pretty difficult. But I feel that one can project a loss of 10% to 20%, and that is for his whole bloc, which includes his core base of support plus many independent and 14 March leaner who choose Aoun, in the last election, as a response for Joumblatt’s alliance with Hezbollah in 2005.Therefore, I will go for a 15% drop in Aoun’s support. And I will add 15% to the 14 March coalitions, especially that the former President Amine Gemayel has more notoriety and support, compared to his son in 2005.

The Armenians are calling to support Aoun, and their mobilization is traditionally high. Even though there are no Armenian candidates running for the seat, and there are many talks of internal disagreement in the Tachnak party, I will consider their support undiminished.

Finally, the Murr bloc. Michel Murr has reluctantly supported Aoun for the upcoming election, and an estimated one fifth (some claim is goes as high as 1/3) of his bloc leans for the Kateb or are indeed ex-Kateb or ex-LF (Geagea supporters) so I will go for a 20% (1/5) drop in his popularity.

Here I must take in account the long alliance shared between Murr and the Kateab that goes back to the 70’s and Murr reluctance in supporting Aoun, especially that he was the one who convinced General Aoun to leave a seat for the son of Amine Gemayel, who assassination a few months ago resulted in this partial election. Therefore, I reckon that he will not fully mobilize his voters and may, and I stress MAY, indirectly support Amine Gemayel. But I will leave these speculations out of my number crunching.

So the final numbers become like this:

35650 +2800(from Murr) for the Kateb and their allies

25500 for Aoun and his allies

7000 Tachnak

11200 for Murr

Total for Amin Gemayel: 38400

Total for Aoun: 43500

The difference is 4900, out of 83500 voters, which translate into a mere 5% difference. In comparison, in 2005 the difference was 28000 or 34%.

So in conclusion, the election will be very, very close. And any further drop of Aoun support or lack of mobilization in Aoun Armenian support, or if (and this is the most probable outcome) Murr chooses to stand by the sideline or refuse to muster all his support, will result in a victory for Amine Gemayel.

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