Iran-Backed Hezbollah Gains Tighter Control Over Lebanon Through "Decisive" Election Victory

Lebanon's parliamentary election raises hopes for changes

Hezbollah and allies set to win more than half of the seats in Lebanon parliament

Lebanon is awaiting official results of the country's first parliamentary elections in nearly a decade, a poll that saw a significantly lower turnout than previous general elections.

This mandate will enable Hezbollah to fight its regional wars and battles with strong parliamentary support, which is derived from its new-found powerful political representation, as well as its weapons.

"This is a great political and moral victory for the resistance option that protects the sovereignty of the country", Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised address.

Lebanon's first national elections in nine years were marked by a tepid turnout Sunday, reflecting voter frustration over endemic corruption and a stagnant economy.

Hezbollah's gains in the Lebanese election on Sunday show that the state is indistinguishable from the Iranian-backed Shi'ite group and that Israel should not distinguish between them in any future war, an Israeli security cabinet minister said.

Hezbollah and its allies won more than a third of the 128 seats, giving them veto power.

Lebanon's sectarian power sharing system dictates that the prime minister must be a Sunni.

Machnouk said official results were expected at 4 a.m. local time Monday (9 p.m. ET Sunday).

In Tripoli, where several prominent Sunni politicians were vying to claim leadership of the city, Faisal Karame was elected to parliament for the first time.

He said he will continue to work closely with President Michel Aoun, who is allied with a rival bloc led by the Hezbollah terror group.

More news: Protests grow at AMU over Jinnah portrait controversy

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Twitter that following these results, "the State of Israel will not differentiate between the sovereign State of Lebanon and Hezbollah".

The new law redrew constituency boundaries and changed the system from first past the post to proportional representation in an attempt to encourage voting.

The low turnout — between 32 percent and 42 percent in Beirut precincts, according to Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk — betrayed widespread voter apathy for the main political currents governing the country and left open the possibility that outside candidates could win seats in Parliament.

"Speaking as a college student, we need jobs, we need more respect, we need to be cured, we need to be helped, we hoped to have everything new, everything better than before", Jalal Bukhari, a 23-year-old college student, told Xinhua at the polling station in the Omar Fakhuri Primary School in southern Beirut, the capital.

Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is staunchly pro-Hezbollah, described the election as "a slap" for Hariri on its front page.

Hezbollah-backed winners include Jamil al-Sayyed, a retired general and former Lebanese intelligence chief who is a close friend of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to the unofficial results.

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.

"The biggest swing vote will be President Aoun's group, which will move among the other blocs".

The election is being seen as vital to Lebanon's economic stability however there will be some concern about the success of the Tehran-influenced Hezbollah group which is fiercely opposed to Israel.

Elsewhere in the country, freaky "collusive" local lists were formed among traditional establishment foes to ensure the three main religious blocs of Shi'ites, Sunnis and Christians wouldn't be disrupted too much by the new electoral law. "The problem with this election: a lot of people didn't understand it", he said.

Latest News