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Bazzi: Lebanese Election Preview

Interviewee: Mohamad Bazzi
Interviewer: Eben Kaplan
September 20, 2007

Mohamad Bazzi, CFR's Edward Murrow press fellow, says the political situation in Lebanon is so tenuous that the Lebanese parliament may not be able to elect a president when it convenes September 25. Should the deadlock continue through November when current President Emile Lahoud's term expires, the country could face an even larger crisis with opposing sides clamoring to fill the power vacuum.

Bazzi says the two major parliamentary factions could still reach a compromise on a candidate and the country has a history of eleventh-hour dealmaking. A third scenario could see the pro-Western majority attempt to elect its own candidate without the required two-thirds majority. Should this occur, the opposition would likely reject the legitimacy of the vote and might even attempt to create its own interim government.

The assassination of lawmaker Antoine Ghanem on September 19 slims the parliamentary majority such that further assassinations or defections could prevent the majority from electing its preferred candidate, Bazzi says.

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