Lebanon: Aoun emerges as Christian community leader

Published June 13th, 2005 - 03:01 GMT

Former exiled Gen. Michel Aoun scored a sweeping election victory in Lebanon’s Christian heartland north and northeast of Beirut. By this, Aoun cemented his status as the national leader of his own Christian community. Aoun lost in the Chouf mountains of the Druze hinterland southeast of Beirut, where leader Walid Jumblat's ticket clinched all 8 seats of the district. The ex-General Aoun also lost, but relatively narrowly, in the battles in the Baabda-Aley district, where Jumblat's coalition with Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces, Hariri's Tayyar Al Mustaqbal grabbed all 11 seats of the constituency..


According to Naharnet, the General, who broke opposition ranks and joined pro-Syrian groups on an anti-corruption slate,  also swept Zahle in a coalition with Elias Skaff while Hizbullah and its allies won the Baalbek-Hermel region in the Bekaa. Saad Hariri’s Tayyar al Mustaqbal clinched all seats of the Western Bekaa constituency. 


Jumblatt accused Aoun, who returned from 14 years' exile last month, of being brought in by Damascus to undermine the opposition. "Michel Aoun is a small (Syrian) tool," he told Lebanese Broadcasting Corp. television. "True he succeeded, I concede that."

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