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newsmoments.net May 27, 2018


Lebanese vote in first general election in nine years

08 May 2018, 01:14 | Simon Arnold

Lebanon's parliamentary election raises hopes for changes

Men abound while women are rarely to be spotted on the lists of the mainstream parties competing for power in Lebanon's elections. India Stoughton  The National

'Hezbollah = Lebanon, ' Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a rightist in the Israel's conservative coalition government, said on Twitter on Monday.

"We hope that all Lebanese political stakeholders will continue to act responsibly in the days following polling to protect Lebanon's stability, which should include the swift formation of a government", said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Recall that Hezbollah, since 2011 actively involved in the Syrian civil war on the side of Assad, is considered a terrorist organization in Israel, USA, Canada, and also in many Arab countries.

The Hezbollah is considered a terror outfit by the USA while the European Union accords the same tag to its military wing.

Rival blocs in parliament could not agree on a new president between 2014-16 and repeatedly made a decision to delay elections, partly because of disagreement over moving from a winner-takes-all to a proportional voting system.

The staunchly anti-Hezbollah Lebanese Forces, a Christian party, appears to have emerged as a big victor, almost doubling its MPs to 15 from eight, according to the unofficial indications.

Such a result would cement Hezbollah's role in the Lebanese government as the strongest political power in the country.


Hezbollah's allies include the Shi'ite Amal Movement led by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and the Christian Free Patriotic Movement established by President Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally since 2006 who has said its arsenal is needed to defend Lebanon.

An anti-Hezbollah alliance led by Hariri and backed by Saudi Arabia won a majority in parliament in 2009.

Unofficial results showed Iran-backed Hezbollah and its political allies won just over half the seats in Lebanon's election.

Ending wars and finding a comprehensive regional solution would put an end to Iran's expanding influence and inevitably result in the political and military undermining of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Though having enjoyed relative peace due to the delicate political balance reached among the Christians, Muslims and the Hezbollah since the 1975-1990 civil war, Lebanon has always been ruled by traditional powers including previous warlords and influential families.

Lebanon's first parliamentary vote in nine years was held on Sunday, with over 500 candidates vying for seats.

In post-election remarks on Monday, the prime minister said the Future Movement had won 21 seats at the polls, down from 33 in the previous parliament.


Imad Risk, general manager of the Isticharia Strategic & Communication Studies in Beirut, told Xinhua that whoever wins or loses in this election, Lebanon has set a good example not only for own domestic politics but also for the region.

The next Lebanon government, like the outgoing one, will likely be a unity government that incorporates Hariri's opponents from the Shiite Hezbollah group.

"This is a great political and moral victory for the resistance", Nasrallah said, in reference to his party's identity as bulwark against Israeli and Western aggression.

Senior political leaders, including Hariri himself and Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk whose task it was to supervise the vote, admitted that new voting rules tested for the first time had been perplexing for the electorate.

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

"The problem with this election was a lot of people didn't understand it", he said. That, along with the new electoral law, injected some unpredictability to the process.




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