Hezbollah tightens grip on Lebanon in vote that mirrors regional power struggle

Howard TerryMay 15, 2018

"An activist carries a banner that reads 'Enough marginalisation of Lebanese women, support the feminine quota" during a sit-in outside the Lebanese parliament in downtown Beirut.

Sunday's parliamentary election was the first in nine years. They are then further subdivided between all of Lebanon's 18 officially recognized religious sects. Turnout in Beirut, where Mr. Hariri and his allies dominated previous elections, was lower than in other regions, ranging from 32 percent to 42 percent.

Nasrallah, who is the most popular leader in Arab streets, even in the countries where Kingdom's were suppressing their subjects' political rights, further said, "There were many attempts by the U.S. and some Gulf states to distort the image of Hezbollah and impose new sanctions and pressure on it".

However, the FPM lost a few seats to Samir Geagea's Lebanese Forces (LF), a more militant Christian grouping, which almost doubled its number of seats to 13.

Nasrallah called the results a "great political and moral victory for the resistance option that protects the sovereignty of the country".

Referring to the "powerful" victory of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in the parliamentary elections, he said, "This day is a blessed day".

But with 21 MPs, down from 33 in the last Parliament, he still emerged as the Sunni Muslim leader with the biggest bloc in the 128-seat house, making him the frontrunner to form the next government. Lebanon's sectarian political structure leads to a weak state, and it is often exploited by outside powers, including Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

But the election results show that Sunni voters are losing faith in Hariri's party amid a stagnant economy and general exasperation over the war in Syria that has brought one million refugees to Lebanon.

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