Elections in Lebanon Boost Hezbollah's Clout


The leader of Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah group said on Monday election that results are a "political and moral victory" for the resistance, as it refers to itself and its regional allies.

The Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah in a televised speech expressed his gratitude to Resistance Axis supporters yesterday afternoon, declaring the elections a national achievement.

Hezbollah and its allies appear set to take at least 47 seats in the 128-seat parliament, which would enable them to veto any laws it opposes.

The Hezbollah and Amal are reported to have won 29 seats in the Sunday's vote, while 11 more seats are predicted to have won by other political parties aligned with the two.

Hezbollah, which was created in the 1980s to fight against Israel and now battles in Syria alongside regime forces, is listed as a terror organisation by the United States.

Hezbollah's leader, meanwhile, lauded the group's "political victory".

An Israeli minister said the outcome showed the Lebanese state was indistinguishable from Hezbollah, signaling the risk of Israel hitting Lebanon's government in a future war.

The still-to-be confirmed results show major gains for Hezbollah and its allies and seat losses for the Western-backed Future Movement of Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

The election marks the first vote under the new proportional system, which replaced the structure where the winning party would carry all the seats in a particular district.

Official results of the Lebanese election are expected on Monday.

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Leading Hezbollah legislator Ali Ammar defended his group's involvement in Syria, saying it is protecting Lebanon from the "evil powers" of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida.

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.

PM Hariri has lost over a third of his seats.

"The Lebanese have had their say, and the word of our candidates was clear after our battle on different fronts", said Hariri.

Unofficial results indicated that Hezbollah has won at least 67 of the 128 seats in the parliament; but the number of Hezbollah MPs was little changed, at around 13, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

More than 50 percent of registered voters stayed away from the ballot boxes, more than at the last election nine years ago. However, the assessments in Lebanon are that Hariri has the best chance of forming a government. Naftali Bennett, the hawkish leader of Jewish Home, insists Israel should consider that "Lebanon equals Hezbollah" from now on.

In Lebanon, in order to maintain a balance of power between differing religions and denominations, the prime minister's post is traditionally held by a Sunni Muslim, while the speaker of Parliament is a Shia.

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.

Official results showed one candidate from a grassroots movement of activists, journalist Paula Yaacoubian, won a seat in the capital, an area traditionally monopolized by establishment political parties.