A Lebanese Abroad

Opinions from an opinionated Lebanese abroad about Lebanon's politics, business and the future of a United Lebanon.

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Zogby poll shows Hezbollah a wild card for Lebanese

A new Zogby poll has been released but not widely publicized yet. Here were the surprising or interesting results, from my perspective:

- 6% want Hizbollah disarmed, another 18% if peace exist, 31% if they self-disarm and 41% want them to stay armed
- 30% support the role of the U.S., 45% of France, 37% of Syria and 74% of Hezbollah

And these ones show that perception and reality are different:
- 75% of loyalists demonstrations principally motivated by “No to US/France” vs. only 19% of opposition demonstrations were actually inspired by US/French support
- 54% of loyalists thought that opposition demonstrations were not important versus 48% of opposition thought that loyalist demonstrations were not important

These polls show that the “dividing” issue remains Hezbollah. The “uniting” issues are: elections on time, new government, Taef accord and the role of foreign nations. Furthermore, this poll shows that there are large gaps between perception and reality.

I don’t think that the Lebanese are interesting in discussing their differences until after the elections which are seen as a defining moment in history. What is still unclear is how this polarization will change after the elections, and if it remains- will the Lebanese sit down and discuss these differences in a civilized manner, or will they ignore them?

Another possible scenario is that an entirely new reality might set-in after the elections, but this will depend on whether a new President can also be elected soon after, and whether he/she can fulfill their role as the ultimate “uniting motivator” for the country.

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