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Survey predicts fierce battles if early vote held
Future, hizbullah, fpm gain non-sectarian support

BEIRUT : Lebanon has recently witnessed sizzling debates concerning major political files, with each party attempting to impose its political agenda on the basis that it represents the popular majority.

During the tumultuous phase after the 2005 parliamentary elections, alliances broke apart and new ones were formed. Now major issues of concern have been replaced by new ones following the July-August war.

In light of recent developments, it has become a necessity to reveal the electoral support for various Lebanese players, and to make predictions about the results of any potential early elections.

This survey forecasts the makeup of the upcoming Lebanese Parliament, taking into consideration the various scenarios for any electoral law that is to be adopted.

Two scenarios are currently being examined for an electoral law, as could be deduced from the recent political debates: the small district (qada),the mixed system (majority, proportional)  suggested by the National Council for Elections and passed on to the Cabinet, or the proportional representation module whereby all of Lebanon is considered as one district or proportional Representation governorate or single seats.

 

The Beirut Center for Research and Information conducted a survey to determine the electoral support for all political players in all regions.

The survey was conducted between October 19 and October 31; 5,000 survey questionnaires were administered - 1,350 of which were in Mount Lebanon , 1,300 in the North, 1,050 in the South, 850 in the Bekaa, and 590 in Beirut . The sample consisted of only those people who expressed their willingness to vote in the next elections.

  Analysis Mode

The survey determined the electoral support for various Lebanese political groups in each qada (small district).

The qadas were summed up to determine the size on the level of the governorate (Mohafaza) based on the number of voters in the 2005 parliamentary elections, which reached 1,388,000 voters.

The survey revealed that the Lebanese opposition (Hizbullah, FPM and allies) constitute 58.1 percent of respondents, as opposed to a 41.9 percent for the March 14 coalition.

Results

Beirut Governorate

The Future Movement remains ahead of its Sunni opponents combined, even if it has lost some of its popularity among Sunnis.

A total of 11 percent of the respondents who voted for the Future Movement in 2005 will not vote for the movement, (85% of sunnis supported the Future Movement in 2005 election).

The survey revealed that Hizbullah has become one of the major players in the Sunni sphere; 12.5 percent of Sunnis said that they would vote for any list backed by Hizbullah.

With respect to Christian respondents, results show that the competition is at its peak between the opposition and the March 14 Forces.

The March 14 Forces' electoral size reaches 59 percent as opposed to a 41 percent for the opposition in Beirut .

The results show that the number of voters is expected to increase among all sects, especially Christians and Shiites.

  North Lebanon Governorate

Results show that the Future Movement has lost ground in Tripoli and Akkar, where 7 percent of Sunni respondents in Tripoli and 11 percent in Akkar said that they will not vote for the Future Movement in the next elections.

In contrast, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and its ally the Marada Party, headed by former Minister Suleiman Franjieh, are expected to sweep the majority of Christian votes in both Akkar and Zghorta.

In the district of Bsharri, the Lebanese Forces are expected to amass the majority of votes.

In the Koura and Batroun region, the results of the survey indicate that the competition between the opposition and the March 14 Forces would be fierce.

The Bekaa

In the West Bekaa and Hasbayya districts, the March 14 coalition still prevails, especially among Sunnis and Druze. In Zahle, the opposition is expected to monopolize the votes.

Mount Lebanon Governorate

Results show that the FPM is still very popular in four qadas (Kesrouan, Jbeil, Metn, and Baabda) and will be able to sweep all 22 seats with any electoral law adopted.

In Aley and the Chouf, MP Walid Jumblatt is still a leading force, and is popular among Sunnis in Iqlim al-Kharroub.

South Lebanon Governorate

Hizbullah and Amal will win all seats because of its huge popular support. It is worth noting that the FPM is very popular among Christians. Also, the Progressive Socialist Party will get the majority of votes in the Hasbayya region in the South.

  Conclusion

A simple mathematical equation reveals that a drastic change did not occur after the war, compared to the support for various parties during the 2005 elections.

The results also showed that the Future Movement, Hizbullah, and the Free Patriotic Movement have crossed sectarian borders and can now be considered more secular parties.
 
 

     The Daily Star
   November 06 2006

  

Table (1)

Distribution of seats based on majority with qada

 

QADA

Opposition seats

March 14 seats

Tripoli

1

7

Menieh-Donnieh

0

3

Akkar

0

7

Bcharry

0

2

Zogharta

3

0

Batroun

1

1

Koura

2

1

Jbeil

3

0

Keserwan

5

0

Maten

8

0

Baabda

6

0

Aley

0

5

Shouf

0

8

Baalbeck-Hermel

10

0

Zahleh

7

0

West Bekaa

1

5

Saida

1

1

Jezzine

3

0

Zahrani

3

0

Tyer

4

0

Nabatieh

3

0

Bint Jbeil

3

0

Marjeyoun-Hasbaya

5

0

Beirut (with current   distribution of district)

0

19

Total

69

59

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Table (2)

Distribution of Parliamentary seats based on proportional representation and governorate

 

Governorate

Opposition seats

March 14 seats

North

12

16

Mountain

18

17

Bekaa

14

9

South

19

4

Beirut

8

11

Total

71

57

 
 

 
 
 

Total (3)

Distribution of Parliamentary seats based on proportional representation and majority

 

Governorate

Opposition seats

March 14 seats

North

9

19

Mountain

21

14

Bekaa

17

6

South

20

3

Beirut

8

11

Total

75

53

 
 

 
 
The Daily Star
06/11/2006
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