Lebanon is facing further political upheaval after a candidate supported by the Christian opposition leader, Michel Aoun, narrowly won a significant by-election. Two by-elections were triggered by the assassination of two anti-Syrian politicians. The ruling coalition held onto its seat in the Beirut by-election. But the opposition Maronite Christian candidate, Kamil Khoury, won by a handful of votes in the Metn district, northeast of Beirut.
Aoun had predicted his candidate would beat Amin Gemayel, a former president and a key member of the anti-Syrian majority coalition, which is supported by France, the United States and Saudi Arabia. Maronites once dominated Lebanese politics and the country’s presidency is still reserved for the sect.
Aoun is the main Christian leader in the opposition coalition which includes Hezbollah, an ally of Syria and Iran. He has stated that he is a candidate for the presidential elections in Lebanon that are only a few weeks away. Several clashes between supporters of both camps north of Beirut were broken up by Lebanese troops.