Hezbollah, Allies Gain Seats in Lebanon Parliament Vote, Unofficial Results Show

May 10 13:47 2018

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Iran-backed Hizbollah and its parliamentary allies won more than a third of the 128 seats, which would leave them as a dominant force in the Lebanese legislature.

Most people described a festive atmosphere for parties who had won seats.

The polls were also marked by a low turnout of 49.2 percent and the emergence of a civil society movement challenging Lebanon’s oligarchs that could clinch a pair of seats in parliament.

Hezbollah’s leader, meanwhile, lauded the group’s “political victory”.

The elections were the first since war broke out in neighboring Syria in 2011, sending over 1 million refugees to Lebanon, a small country with a population estimated at around 4.5 million. Lebanese were able to vote for their MPs for the first time in nine years, after parliament extended its term three times citing concerns over security and the old electoral law.

“Overall, we can say that our objectives have been achieved in these elections”, – said Nasrallah. They had 29 MPs and are expected to lose around one-third of them.

The strong showing by parties and politicians who support Hezbollah’s possession of weapons risk complicating Western policy in Lebanon, which is banking on foreign aid and loans to revive its stagnant economy and receives USA military support.

However, it is not entirely certain that Hezbollah and FPM will maintain their 12-year alliance.

This suggests a potential coalition government formed by the Hezbollah-Amal coalition and the Free Patriotic Movement.

“They can do it without them”, Nader said.

Hezbollah has sent thousands of its fighters to Syria to shore up President Bashar Assad’s forces. An overwhelming majority of Shia, reaching more than 90 percent in some voting districts, voted for Hezbollah and Amal.hia continue to trust Hezbollah.

“This is very important”. The drop came despite a reformulated electoral law created to encourage voting through proportional representation. “It is smarter, but also the victor in this battle”, Nader said.

Hariri, a Sunni politician with close ties to Saudi Arabia, has thus far lost five chairs in Beirut, once thought to be a stronghold because of his social gathering.

“The problem with this election was a lot of people didn’t understand it”, he said.

“You can come up with any Sunni personality, like Mikati, who has the credentials and legitimacy to make a prime minister, or even Karami”.

Faisal Karami, the son of the late pro-Syrian Prime Minister Omar Karami, won a seat for the first time.

Lebanon’s prime minister must be a Sunni according to the country’s sectarian power-sharing system.

“It’s purely because of the law”, Hariri said in response to a question about his party’s poorer standing. “I am unbreakable, and Lebanon can only be governed by all its components”.

And the Lebanese Forces party of former warlord Samir Geagea looked set to score significant gains, with a projected 15 seats.

“The landscape is fragmented”, Nader said.

Shortly after he cast his ballot on Sunday morning, President Michel Aoun gave a brief statement to the press, addressing one of the more perplexing aspects of the new law – the preferential vote. “The balance of power has tilted in favour of Hezbollah“. Hezbollah kept Lebanese politics in limbo for two and a half until it could get an ally elected as president.

It remains to be seen reaction of Saudi Arabia whose quarrels with its Shia competitor Iran have turned Lebanon into favorite board to ventilate regional quarrels. And this in a context of high tension both on sourn border that it shares with Lebanon and in Syrian strife where Hebrew army has repeatedly bombarded Hezbollah and its Iranian godfar.

Lebanon has always been beset by corruption and division, and the election results were widely expected.

Speaking ahead of the final results, Lebanese political analyst Lokman Slim told Middle East Eye that Hezbollah’s control over its newly expanded bloc will be the decisive factor in the next parliament.

Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah in Marjayoun Lebanon celebrated election gains on Monday

Hezbollah, Allies Gain Seats in Lebanon Parliament Vote, Unofficial Results Show
 
 
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