Twitter responds to the election of a new Lebanese President

Published November 1st, 2016 - 01:52 GMT
Chaotic scenes as the Lebanese Parliament elects a president. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
Chaotic scenes as the Lebanese Parliament elects a president. (AFP/Joseph Eid)

Lebanese Twitter users have been busy sharing their reactions to the election of their country's new president, which comes following a 29 month stalemate and a total of 46 parliamentary ballots. It was announced yesterday that Michel Aoun, a Christian ally of Hezbollah, had gained the most votes in the second round of voting, with 83 out of 127 MPs selecting him.

The voting was chaotic, with several rounds and two recounts needed before a winner could be declared. Twitter users shared videos of the disorder, comparing the lawmakers to rioting students:

“One side of the Lebanese presidential elections

Like a class of naughty school children”

For one MP, neither Mr Aoun nor his main opponent Suleiman Frangieh, Jr. made the Presidential cut. Instead, a single vote was cast for the provocative model, singer and actor Miriam Klink, much to the amusement of many.

Some even produced satirical promotion material for her:

“Miriam Klink has started to prepare herself [to be president] and they have even created a campaign for her”

The outcome was not uncontroversial.Some were anxious about the relationship between Mr Aoun and Hezbollah, the militant Shia Islamist party with ties to Iran, suggesting that this would increase the latter’s influence in national affairs.

“A question to the President of the Republic of Lebanon, Michel #Aoun - Do you accept the terrorist, illegal, Iranian weapons of #Hezbollah in Lebanon!!!??”

A journalist suggested the election of Mr. Aoun threw doubt on Lebanese national sovereignty:

“The biggest lie propagated today is that the Lebanese presidential elections are of Lebanese making. Why don’t they tell the truth and say that they are an Iranian creation, with Lebanese prostration [before Iranian rule]?”

Others offered a more light-hearted criticism of the new president, who is 81 years old: 

“#Lebanon stands out for breaking the records in...fattoush...a plate of houmous... tabbouleh...a falafel sandwich...the dirtiest singer...and the oldest president...#Aoun”

Nonetheless, many were just pleased that their country had finally chosen a President after a two year hiatus:

 

"Congratulations to Lebanon, finally we have a President of the Lebanese Republic, and with hope for the improvement of our country and the spreading of security and peace."

While Mr. Aoun to some degree represents cross-sectarian unity, as a Christian with Shia backing, it remains to be seen how the competing influences of Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to play out in Lebanese political arena following his election.

RA


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