Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group and its allies appear to have suffered losses in legislative elections this weekend, with their opponents winning more seats and some of their traditional partners not being elected to the legislature, according to initial results. published on Monday.
Despite the apparent setback, Hezbollah and its main Shia ally, the Amal group of parliament speaker Nabih Berri, are expected to retain the 27 seats allocated to the sect. Unofficial results show independents, including those in the 2019 protest movement, made gains by removing long-serving politicians from parliament.
Sunday’s closely watched elections were the first since a devastating economic crisis erupted in Lebanon in October 2019, sparking nationwide protests against the ruling class blamed for decades of corruption and mismanagement.
It was also the first election since the August 2020 Beirut port explosion that killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed parts of the Lebanese capital. The explosion, widely blamed on negligence, was triggered by hundreds of tonnes of improperly stored ammonium nitrate igniting in a port warehouse.
Earnings by Christian Party, Independents
The Saudi-backed Christian Lebanese Forces party, which has been one of the most vocal critics of Iran-armed Hezbollah, said it won at least 20 seats, adding five members in the 2018 vote This would make it the largest Christian bloc in parliament, replacing the Free Patriotic Movement founded by President Michel Aoun and an ally of Hezbollah since 2006.
Independents also appear to be making significant gains, but they remain far from making any changes as the main vote winners are likely to be the mainstream political groups.
A powerful Hezbollah ally in southern Lebanon is said to have lost his seat to an independent, while another independent, Mark Daou, said “we are heading for a big victory”. Daou is running in the Mount Lebanon region of Aley against longtime Druze politician Talal Arslan.
Official results were to be announced later on Monday.
Lebanon holds elections every four years and the new parliament will elect a new president after Aoun’s term ends in October.