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Lebanon Holds Parliamentary Elections For the First Time in almost a Decade

10 May 2018
Lebanon Holds Parliamentary Elections For the First Time in almost a Decade

The United States classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organization; the European Union uses the terrorist label exclusively for Hezbollah's military wing.

The official count, announced by Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk at a news conference, showed that Mr Hariri, a Sunni politician with close ties to Saudi Arabia, has lost at least five seats in Beirut, once considered his party's stronghold.

The vote for the 128-seat parliament is being held according to a complex new law that has redrawn constituencies and replaced a winner-takes-all system with a proportional one.

FPM lost a few seats to Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces (LF), which did notably well, almost doubling its number of seats from eight to 16.

That's nearly 67 out of 128 parliamentary seats.

Unofficial results from Lebanon's parliamentary elections show that the Hezbollah resistance movement and its political allies secured over half the seats.

The main party leaders will start in the coming days to negotiate the shape of a new government, but analysts said there likely will be no change with Hariri remaining as prime minister and Aoun staying on as president.

"Irrespective of who wins the elections, Lebanon will face hurdles implementing reforms", said Hani Sabra, founder of Alef Advisory, a New York-based consultancy.

A relaxed-looking Hariri told a large group of local and foreign journalists at his Beirut residence that the results, which have not yet been officially announced, credit his Future Movement with 21 of parliament's 128 seats, a drop from the 33 it controlled in the outgoing legislature.

Its presence is felt elsewhere, too, with Hezbollah fighters backing the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Lebanon has usually been a scene the place the rivalry between the area's two heavyweights Iran and Saudi Arabia has performed out, however their political shoppers on this election appeared content material to keep up the established order.

"Hariri's loss will be the distinguishing mark of these elections, which will have consequences on the battle to form a new government", the pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar daily wrote earlier on Monday.

Nader was referring to Najib Mikati, a former prime minister and leader of the Majd Movement, and Faisal Karami, the leader of the Arab Liberation Party (ALP).

Israel has warned that "Hezbollah equals Lebanon" following the election success of the Iran-backed Shia Islamist group in the country's election. Ultimately, the movement won only one seat, electing well-known television personality Paula Yacoubian.

"The fact that the elections were held is a national historic achievement", Nasrallah added, praising the new electoral law and his followers for casting their ballots.

But the anti-Hezbollah alliance known as March 14 has disintegrated since then and Riyadh has turned its focus and resources to confronting Iran in other parts of the region. He led the Lebanese Forces militia in the last years of the civil war, during which he was an adversary of Aoun.

His political network in Lebanon has been shaken over the last several years by the collapse of the construction firm Saudi Oger, which generated billions for the Hariri family and was seen as a vehicle of Saudi support for Future. He said it would maintain its "strategic alliance" with the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group.

"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.