Lebanon election: Hezbollah strengthened, Hariri weakened

by Antonio Miles May 8, 2018, 1:15
Lebanon election: Hezbollah strengthened, Hariri weakened

An Israeli cabinet minister says Israel should not distinguish between Hezbollah and Lebanon in any future war.

Hezbollah had put its full weight behind the Baalbak-Hermel elections, which were handled personally by Hasan Nasrallah, who warned of direct Saudi money trying to buy off voters on Sunday, especially after Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Lebanon, Walid al-Boukhari, visited the district in late March.

Several Western countries, including the United States, have designated Hezbollah's military wing or the entire organisation as a terrorist group.

Lebanon's president must always be Maronite Christian, the prime minister Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shia Muslim.

On Sunday, Lebanese people voted for their favorite candidates competing for 128 parliamentary 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.

The nuclear program was meant to force the global community to recognize Iran's power and negotiate a deal that would give Iran a free hand in the region in return. He leads the Mustaqbal, or Future, bloc that is backed by Saudi Arabia, Iran's Sunni rival.

Unofficial early results point to the group winning more than half the seats in the Lebanese parliament.

Therefore, the Hezbollah and Amal Shiite parties, in alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement, may secure over 60 parliament seats, which will be considered the majority.

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Turnout was 54% in the last election in 2009, he said.

If official results expected in the afternoon confirm Hezbollah's own estimates, the movement which Iran is essentially using for external operations will be better positioned to fend off any suggestion it should disarm.

The elections were the first since war broke out in neighbouring Syria in 2011, sending over 1 million refugees to Lebanon, a small country with a population estimated at around 4.5 million.

However, analysts are closely watching the performance of Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's Future Movement party and that of the Iran-backed, Shi'ite Hezbollah group and its allies.

The AP report also added that the new government would likely include Hariri's opponents from the Hezbollah group. A doctor turned warlord and then politician, Gagegea is now establishing himself as leader of an impressive parliamentary bloc that will undoubtedly challenge Hezbollah within the Chamber - regardless of who controls the absolute majority.

The Christian and heavily anti-Hezbollah party Lebanese Forces seemed to have doubled their numbers, growing from 8 to 15 seats this election.

A Lebanese man showcases his ink-stained thumb after casting his vote in the first Lebanese parliamentary election in nine years, in the coastal city of Byblos, north of the capital Beirut. However, the election results coupled with hardening external views about the economic and political state of Lebanon could pose new variables in a country that can ill afford them.

The other heavyweight Christian party, Aoun's FPM, is projected to win 17 seats, which would make Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil an MP for the first time.

In municipal elections two years ago, independent candidates did well against established political parties by drawing on public anger at poor government services, including a crisis in which mountains of garbage piled in the streets. But many, including Machnouk, blamed the new, complex law for the tepid turnout, particularly in Beirut.


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