Thursday, May 10, 2007

Presidential Poll: Round 1 - Vote on New Poll

The winner of the first presidential poll held on Blacksmiths of Lebanon is Nassib Lahoud, former MP and president of the Democratic Renewal Movement. Approximately 125 people voted, making this poll the most popular one yet.

Nassib Lahoud amassed 29.3% of the vote, beating out his closest rival, Michel "I kid" Aoun, by over 8 percentage points. Candidates belonging to the March 8th "alliance" gathered 22.7% in total, while those in the March 14th coalition harnessed 64.3% of the vote. Neutral candidate Charles Rizk won 5.7%, while 7.3% of voters were not impressed by any of the candidates.

Many people commented on the seriousness of this poll as it included candidates who have either expressed their intentions not to run (i.e. Samir Geagea) or have no chance in hell (i.e. Suleiman Franjieh, Chibli Mallat).

As a reflection of comments we received, both on and off the blog, concering serious candidates for the presidency, the next presidential poll (first week of June) will include General Michel Suleiman, head of the Lebanese Armed Forces and Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank, as candidates. This would more accurately reflect the reality of the current presidential debate, while increasing the number of "compromise" candidates.

Stay tuned.

As for this week's Blacksmiths of Lebanon poll, we cast a look at the issues currently ailing the country and ask our audience what they think should be legislators and politicians main concern in the coming weeks.

Written in collaboration with Blacksmith Nick.


  1. About the new poll: what a strange question. I didn't know 1701 was going to be moved under chapter 7, who has suggested such a thing? And what do the electoral issues listed in the poll have to do with UNSCR 1701 anyway?

  2. Whoa Jay good point! Thats a major typo. Its supposed to say Int'l Tribunal and I just changed it.

    Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Anonymous10:40 PM

    Since your poll is based on the opinions of the people concerned (i.e.:the lebanese), more than 75% of chritians in lebanon are for aoun as president, and more than the majority of muslims are for aoun as president, so what does your poll results mean?
    That your readers, are mostly from your own opinion, one that do not represent the majority of the lebanese population, one that is in support to those big mafia thugs...
    And so the circle is full, you were able to invent yet another way of self-affirmation, what a great jump toward a better lebanon!!

  4. Arabic Coffee Pot11:03 PM

    HAHAHAHAHA...75%...Good one!

    This claim is like all the other crap that comes out of Aoun's mnouth!

    Let me see, there was:

    "Burning Tires (and blocking roads) is Legal!"

    "90% of Shop Owners Closed for the Strike"

    The Reutersgate-esque Photoshop incident.

    The One-Time Presidential Referendum...oh wait I forgot, that was a joke!

    and...hahaha, I love this one, the "seperating church from state" from the group allied to the biggest fundamentalist party in Lebanon!

    I have to say, it looks like the brain-drain has hit the FPM pretty hard!!!

    (Thanx Blacksmiths for letting me borrow ur posts)

  5. Arabic Coffee Pot: Ya hala!

    Anonymous, thanks for pitching the generic FPM slogan...hold on let me find my one...I think I put it in here somewhere...


  6. A couple of points:
    1. Anonymous, I'd like to know more about the survey which was conducted that returned the results of "75% of Christians and majority of muslims" wanting General Aoun for President eg sample size; economic/socio demographics of participants etc
    2. It seems like the next president of Lebanon will more likely be a 'compromise' candidate in one way or another and to that end, I believe it is in the Lebanese interests that a technocrat be elected president. So I will ask the question which I put forward on this post a couple of weeks ago - any thoughts/information on Demianos Khattar (Finance Minister in Mikati Govt)?

    Otherwise excellent issues which you continue to raise Blacksmith Jade.

  7. Correct me if I am wrong but Sleimane and Salameh are out by virtue of being in "category-one" state positions.

    They needed to resign 2 years before the date of the election.

    Unless, of course, we amend that roll of toilet paper for "one-more-time-only-I-swear-for-real-this-time only"...

  8. Anonymous6:44 PM

    Let's play it like little boys then:

    Burning Tires (and blocking roads)
    Consequence: People don't arrive to their work versus
    Shooting 3 people, two critically and one on a chair for life, not illegal

    90% of Shop Owners Closed for the Strike"
    Consequence: 1 day, 6 month, 1 year if u want of not working
    17 years of stealing the lebanese people, and 50 billion $ of national debt, hmmm i wonder which is worst

    Photoshop incident
    Consequence: Finally something that you can use against Aoun and is true (i do not denie, that was obvious)
    24 hour propaganda and lies via futur tv and LBC

    One-Time Presidential Referendum
    Consequence: True representation from the people, and a bypass to the still point that we are in
    and since u do not beleive that aoun represents the true majority, well see you at the polls then!

    seperating church from state
    First of all, aoun is the first to include that statement in the constitution of the party, but wait you do not know what a constitution
    stands for!
    Second, i am not gonna defend hezbollah ask them about your concerns about fundemantilism
    Third, if u read the 10 point agreement between the 2 parties, then you can come with your concerns!
    And lastly, Hezbollah is the only one that is defending the rights, in a military way against the zionist repeated violation of our rights, but wait if you are a lebanese force member, you'd rather work with them (this pathetic fascination with the IDF,is a real joke) than with a lebanese party that; like or not represents 26% of the lebanese population, and if you are a hariri follower, you do not have a problem in it too, since not saying anything during the war, not condeming the israeli attacks, is just as guilty for me.

    As for Tony's question the 75% is the results of the parlement elections, and as for the muslim part, that was a subjective deduction, from the new political landscape that shaped itself after the parlement elections

    Thank you

  9. Anonymous,

    Just for the sake of objectivity, you can't use a part of the result from the parliamentary elections (FPM victory in the predominantly Christian areas) when it suits and then "a subjective deduction, from the new political landscape" when iy suits.....and don't forget that a subjective deduction is just that, subjective! You know one can come back to you with a "subjective deduction" refuting your 75% of Christian votes based on the same changed political landscape.

    Secondly, 'two wrongs don't make a right', so defending FPM/Aoun by attacking others does not make a sound arguement.

    All, when discussing events in Lebanon I like to know where one would like Lebanon to be in 30 years time with regards to economy, environment, health, education and other areas which are paramount in the success of a country. I believe that if we can spell out our end game then arriving there becomes a little easier - I believe that Blacksmith Jade has taken a positive step in this direction by proposing a list of questions to Presidential candidates. Hopefully there is a way that we can receive some answers.

  10. Hey Tony,
    I googled Demainos Khattar but didn't find anything significant. Other than that I don't have any leads on his current situation.

    The 30 year question is an excellent one. Given my work schedule these days I can't really make any promises about a post in the near future but I encourage such a debate in this comments section for now.

    I just came back from an amazing series of lectures given by Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, Lebanese-American activist James Zoghby, and Religious expert and current Minister of Culture (interim Minister of Foreign Affairs) Tarek Mitri. The talks were extremely refreshing and allow me to declare that Lebanese intellectualism is alive and well, despite the dire political scene and the mindless slogans we are regularly subjected to.

  11. ...and speaking of mindless slogans....

    Look, Anonymous, I know you probably feel very strongly about what you've said, but feeling strongly about something doesn't make you right or your arguments sound (or rational even).

    Don't be so naiive to think that the FPM's Jan. 23rd actions were a simple matter of closing roads. Those actions are directly responsible for openning the door to the cage of an ugly monster, a monster that reared its ugly head on Jan 25th (they weren't direclty involved in that but they were directly responsible for creating the atmosphere allowing it to happen).

    The 90% remark...what a joke, don't u get it? Forcing people to shut their stores doesn't count as them voluntarily adhering to the strike. That remark by Aoun was idiotic (at best).

    Don't even try to defend the photoshop incident. It speaks to the quality of the people who are in the FPM and who altogether contributed to that photo being shown on the air.

    On the point of the referendum read the post directly below this one. You might understand...then again you might not.

    I can't believe you're still talking about that ridiculous written agreement between Aoun and Hizballah (by the way today Hizballah distanced their nomination of Aoun for president, what an alliance!). Hizballah's actions last summer, and the nullification of the National Dialogue those actions entailed speak volumes as to how seriously any agreement with them should be taken.

    As for the 75%, explain to me exactly how Aoun garnering 13 seats out of the 64 Christian seats in Parliament constitutes 75%. The fact of the matter is it doesn't.

    You're Welcome.

  12. On a related note,

    The truth of the matter is that FPM supporters and activits (many of whom are my friends) are made up of 2 kinds of people: People who have a personal issue with either the LF or the Hariri family, and people who understand little about politics and stick to ideological notions which they incorrectly attribute to Aoun. Most of the time its a combination of both.

  13. Riad Salameh is touted as a potential President and it seems like he has the support of some members of the opposition. Unfortunately the level of trust between political groups in Lebanon has diminished to a point where receiving the support of a certain political grouping can spell the end of Presidential aspirations. So in light of this I prefer to keep an open mind about the likes of Riad Salameh and although he probably did not deliver a political manifesto, can you provide insight into what you took away from the lecture and whether he took a position on (a)the current situation in Lebanon; (b)where he would take the country and (c)how he would take it there.

    As for feedback on Demianos Khattar, besides a couple of appearances on LBC, where he sounded objective and quite intelligent, all that I can find is a post by Mustapha from Beirut Spring:

    I don't know whether Mr Khattar is a follower of the FPM or not, but truthfully for me this is not an issue - if one can be objective and present/execute a plan which will progress the country and specifically an economic plan which will allow Lebanon to compete in this age of globalisation, then this person has my total support (for what it's worth).

  14. Lebanon needs a man with just enough "bassesse" to want the job, just enough "grandeur" to hold it, and just enough conniving ability to make it work....

    I think Rizk has the right mix at this juncture of our history; his "electoral campaign" so far demonstrates this.


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