Hezbollah, which the United States calls a terrorist group, has claimed a “political and moral victory” for itself and its allies as unofficial results showed they won just over half the seats in Lebanon’s parliamentary election, Reuters reported. Lebanon held its first general election in nine years on Sunday.
The main contest was between the Western- and Saudi Arabia-backed coalition headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.
Hariri said his coalition had lost over a third of its seats, and blamed a complex new voting law and gaps in his party’s performance. Although Hezbollah’s tally in the 128-member Parliament remains at around 13, together with its allies, it secured at least 67 seats, according to a Reuters calculation based on preliminary results.
Hariri is expected to form the government again as his coalition still had 21 MPs, making him the Sunni Muslim leader with the most supporters in the house. Lebanon’s power-sharing system requires the prime minister to be a Sunni.
Around 49.2% of voters cast their votes in the elections on Sunday. As many as 3.8 million people were eligible to vote. Lebanon’s government was supposed to finish its four-year term in 2013, but instability in neighbouring Syria and an effort to reform the country’s electoral system meant that Parliament’s tenure was extended twice.