After an inconclusive election battle between Lebanon’s pro and anti-Syrian factions attention is turning to next month’s presidential vote that could give a clearer indication of which way the country is heading. Amin Gemayal, a former president and leading figure in the ruling anti-Syrian coalition, has decided not to contest the result, which handed victory to his rival by little more than 400 votes. The by-election was for a Beirut constituency held by Gemayel’s son Pierre, who was assasinated last November. General Michel Aoun’s group now has another seat in parliament but it does little to shift the balance of power. Aoun is the only candidate to have put his name forward for the presidency when Emile Lahoud, who is also a Damascus ally, stands down. But it is far from clear that his supporters will have something to celebrate after the vote on September 25th.
Lebanese vote reveals divisions but not direction