A Lebanese newspaper on Tuesday described Aoun's victory in the third round of parliamentary elections as revenge by Aoun and by Christians.

The Al-Safir newspaper said in an editorial: "The Christians' choice of Aoun is basically revenge against Muslims, Syrians and their Christian allies following the killing of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

"Aoun has partly accomplished his revenge goals from politicians who exiled him for 15 years and tried to prevent him from returning home and his attempts to penetrate the blocs which had been set before his return."

On Monday, Lebanese officials confirmed that Aoun and his allies won 21 of the 58 seats contested on Sunday, at least temporarily halting the opposition's drive for a majority in their effort to end Syria's political control

Political force

The London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat also highlighted Aoun's victory, saying it would lead him to become a force in Lebanon's political life.

"Aoun's success represents the first challenge to the Jumblatt-Hariri alliance, especially in the latters' stances towards President Emil Lahoud."

"Also, it will not be easy for the Jumblatt-Hariri bloc to make big changes in the country without taking into consideration the weight of Aoun, because he is the only one who is capable of convincing the Christians of such a change."

Christians are said to have lost
confidence in traditional leaders

The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi said that Christians voted for Aoun because they had lost confidence in the traditional leadership in Lebanon.

"Lebanese people want changes to be made to restore the country's democratic identity. They are pointing to reform, radical reform of the state."

New agenda

The Lebanese English-language Daily Star described Aoun's victory as a realisation of the Lebanese ambition for radical change in their country.

Commenting on the issue, The Daily Star said: "The people viewed Aoun's often blunt radicalism as a welcome alternative to the accommodating approach of the opposition. By voting for Aoun, they were signaling that they want a leader with the courage and strength to clean up the mess that is Lebanese politics."

"With their votes, the people were expressing their hope that he will not take a shy approach to reform but will aggressively champion their agenda."