Lebanon's Hezbollah claims 'victory' after vote

Lebanon's Hezbollah claims 'victory' after vote”

In Lebanon, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim, and the speaker of parliament a Shia Muslim.

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

Early results were expected to start coming in late Sunday, but official results were not expected to be announced before Monday.

Hezbollah has grown militarily more powerful since 2012, deploying its fighters to Syria and Iraq where it has fought in support of Iranian allies. Nevertheless, Hariri will form the government of Lebanon, as head of the largest Sunni bloc in Parliament.

Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement, meanwhile, is expected to come in second with at least 26 seats.

The highly-armed, Iranian-backed group Hezbollah has gained influence from its involvement in Syria since 2012. We are all the students of one national school, there is no teacher and student here, and we must avoid any sectarian, regional, or inciting speeches like those we heard before the elections so that we avoid any future conflict in the country.

Firstly, there was the new complex and sectarian-based election system adopted previous year that made no sense to the disillusioned Lebanese electorate.

Other sources reported fistfights breaking out at numerous polling stations around the country, as rival parties accused each other of ballot stuffing. The army ordered the media to turn off their cameras.

Even though the official results have not been announced yet, Hezbollah's leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says his party has achieved "victory" in Lebanon's first parliamentary elections since 2009.

Nasrallah said his party's gains would give "protection" to the group and declared "mission accomplished" after weeks of campaigning.

The United States and Israel, which have designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, are on increased alert.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has acknowledged that his parliamentary bloc lost seats in this week's elections, blaming it on a new electoral law and a performance "that wasn't up to the standard". "I extend my hand to everyone who participated in the elections, to preserve stability and create jobs; I know that Lebanon can only be ruled with all of its political elements".

Hariri said his group won 21 seats in Sunday's vote, 11 fewer than what it had been holding since 2009. Hariri looks to be the next prime minister, but cabinet choices are not yet determined due to the Shi'ite Hezbollah bloc majority.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Monday the worldwide community should look at results of Lebanon's election in a "very positive way".

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.

The number of Hezbollah lawmakers in the 128-seat parliament may not increase but astute pre-electoral tactics have secured it enough allies to withstand political challenges on strategic issues.

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