This debate will continue over the coming weeks, as more numbers come in (although, who trusts a pollster anymore?). In the meantime, here are some thoughts. I know that many in the opposition are going to start blaming the Maronite patriarch for their loss — as he issued a statement a couple of days before the election which seemed to chide Lebanese Christians into voting for March 14. But when we consider the fact that the FPM performed very well in the Maronite heartland — with sweeps in Kisrawan, Jbeil, Baabda, Zgharta, and a strong showing in the Metn — I’m not so sure that this explanation holds much water.
Far more decisive, in my opinion, seems to have been: (1) the high turnout of Sunnis in Zahle — many of whom came from abroad — coupled with a low turnout of Christians; (2) strong feelings of antipathy towards Hizbullah by the Christians of Beirut who voted decisively for March 14th’s list in the district of Achrafieh; (3) some rare rhetorical blunders by Nasrallah in the past couple of weeks, calling the events of May 7th “a glorious day” for the resistance.