Hezbollah, allies gain in Lebanon vote, underscoring Iran sway

Hezbollah, allies gain in Lebanon vote, underscoring Iran sway

 

Hezbollah and its political allies made significant gains in Lebanon's parliamentary election, official results showed, boosting an Iranian-backed movement fiercely opposed to Israel and underlining Tehran's growing regional clout.

The leader of Shi'ite Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, called the result a very big political, parliamentary and moral victory for the choice of resistance.

The number of Hezbollah MPs was the same or little changed, but candidates supported by the group or allied to it gained in major cities. Hezbollah and its political allies won just over half the seats in parliament, according to final results from all but one of Lebanon's 15 electoral districts.

Branded a terrorist group by the United States, heavily armed Shi'ite Hezbollah has grown in strength since joining the war in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad in 2012.

The strong showing by parties and politicians who support Hezbollah's possession of weapons risk complicating Western policy in Lebanon, which is banking on foreign aid and loans to revive its stagnant economy and receives U.S. military support.

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.

Western-backed Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri lost over a third of his seats, the results showed. He blamed a complex new voting law and gaps in his party's performance.

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.

Source: Radio Pakistan

 

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