Politics & Economics

Lebanon Turns the Page of Elections, Calls for Calming Tension

Middle East

This weekend Lebanon held its first Parliamentary elections in 9 years. The new parliament will now focus on forming alliances. The political forces have called for reducing tensions in regards to the results.

Lebanon’s political forces have turned the page of parliamentary elections, which were held on Sunday, by calling for reducing tension, pending the formation of major alliances in the new parliament, which begins its mandate on June 20.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed that he would maintain his alliance with President Michel Aoun for the sake of stability, adding that Lebanon cannot be ruled “but with all of its components.”

Speaker Nabih Berri, for his part, said that national unity and coexistence were the real achievement of this new electoral law, underlining the need to understand that attempts to impose political hegemony and sectarian considerations did not serve the country’s interests.

The official results showed a remarkable return to Parliament of the Syrian regime’s allies in Lebanon.

Amal Movement and Hezbollah won 26 Shiite seats out of 27, plus four non-Shiite seats. The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) received a similar number, in addition to nine allies, as announced by FPM President and Foreign Minister Minister Gebran Bassil.

On the other hand, the Lebanese Forces party (LF) was the biggest winner of the elections, as its parliamentary bloc now consists of at least 14 deputies, compared to five deputies in the outgoing parliament. The party has proved to be the second Christian force after the FPM.

The LF was able to achieve victory in areas that used to be out of its access, such as Keserouan and Jbeil – the stronghold of the FPM – where the party won two parliamentary seats. It has also won a seat in Baalbek-Hermel, where Hezbollah has the largest influence.

The Future Movement, headed by Hariri, managed to limit the electoral loss imposed by the new law. The movement announced winning 21 seats, after it had 33 seats in the current parliament.

The new electoral law, which is based on the proportional system, made Hariri lose around eight seats in Beirut, as the city was divided into two districts, a Christian district with 10 deputies and another district of Muslim majority that includes 11 seats.

The FPM maintained its parliamentary bloc, with 20 deputies, plus its allies, bringing the number to about 29, as announced on Monday. This presence will make the movement a powerful support for President Aoun’s term, especially as it is tied in a close alliance with Hariri on one side, and Hezbollah on the other.

The Lebanese Kataeb Party was considered as the main loser in the elections. Its bloc has shrunk to only three deputies instead of 5 seats in the current parliament.

Among the most prominent winners was MP Walid Jumblatt, who was able to win over the FPM, securing 9 seats for his bloc, compared to 10 seats in the outgoing parliament.

Image: Reuters
Article: Asharq al-Awsat