The Lebanese government has observed a minute’s silence for the dead and wounded in yesterday’s Beirut car bombing. It killed one of their numbers, anti-Syrian MP Antoine Ghanem. With the Presidential election due to get underway next week the media are speculating on a very macabre attempt to reduce the ruling party’s majority.
Ghanem was the fourth anti-Syrian MP to be assassinated in two years as the power struggle continues between the government and the mainly pro-Syrian opposition. Reconciliation attempts are ongoing. It remains to be seen how this will affect them.
Today it appeared the government had the backing of the public. Shops were shut in protest for an unofficial day of mourning. It is reported that a number of anti-Syrian MP’s have quietly left the country to avoid being the next target, but they are needed back by Tuesday.
President Emile Lahoud, a Syrian ally, is stepping down. The government now has a majority of just four seats in parliament to vote in its favoured candidate, but the pro-Syrian opposition does not agree with its choice.