Sherri Drops Out of Beirut, Hatoum from Baabda as Differences Continue Over Jezzine
As the constitutional deadline for withdrawing candidacies passed at midnight Wednesday, formation of lists came under the spotlight as 115 candidates pulled out of the race and 587 decided to engage in the electoral battle.
The major changes came from Hizbullah whose number of candidates dropped from 11 to 10 after the withdrawal of Beirut 2 candidate MP Amin Sherri in favor of Amal candidate Hani Qobeisi.
Baabda”s second Shiite seat problem was also resolved after it went to Free Patriotic Movement candidate Ramzi Kanj at the expense of Amal candidate Talal Hatoum.
Al-Akhbar newspaper said Thursday that the changes do not mean the problem between Speaker Nabih Berri and FPM leader Gen. Michel Aoun was solved.
Aoun still holds onto "competition" in Jezzine although Hizbullah tried to give him Baabda”s Shiite seat in return for keeping Berri-backed MP Samir Azar in Jezzine.
Pan-Arab daily al-Hayat, in its turn, quoted sources following up Hizbullah”s continued mediation between Berri and Aoun as saying that the Shiite party decided to sacrifice Sherri although he is the strongest in Beirut 2 district in order to send a message of the need to stay loyal to allies even at one”s own expense.
The message also stressed the need to remain unified despite differences over electoral seats.
The newspaper said that the mediation”s final results will start appearing beginning Thursday.