To follow up on yesterday’s post, the Doha debates on electoral districts see some light of day. Notwithstanding Atef Majdalani’s confidence that al-Mustaqbal would win Beirut regardless of the electoral divisions, the Hariri team proposed a division that provoked the ire of many – whose exactly depends on your news source.
The central issue has been dividing Beirut. According to al-Safir, the Opposition suggested a tripartite division of a Sunni, Christian, and mixed/Shiite area which includes minorities and Armenians. The Hariri group insisted on including Mazra`ah, Musaytbah, or Ras Beirut in the last district, which would have the effect of adding more Sunni supported seats to their foregone gains in the Sunni district. al-Akhbar has more details, adding that Christians in the Opposition also objected to the Hariri suggestion. al-Nahar, quoting Akram Shuhayyib, says the Opposition rejected the ruling coalition’s division, but does not explain why.
Not to go into too many details, this conflict shows how war and peace in Lebanon complement and complete each other. As the front lines in Beirut take form in electoral pie-sharing, it becomes yet another reinforcement of the divisions that would become a reality on the ground should a party decide to use military means for political gains, as Hizballah did just recently. The illusion that things get better when there are no clashes is just that: an illusion. As long as the political system serves to reproduce the same politics and political class, the transformation of peace time politics into war time conflict is just a matter of time and setting.