Iran-Backed Hezbollah Gains Tighter Control Over Lebanon Through "Decisive" Election Victory

Lebanon to elect new parliament after 9 years

Lebanon votes in first general election in nine years

Lebanon has mostly weathered the regional storm caused by seven years of war in neighbouring Syria that has drawn in regional powers and unleashed a wave of refugees, but it has gone through several internal crises since the last election.

But many, including Machnouk, blamed the new, complex law which redrew constituency districts for the tepid turnout, particularly in Beirut as the new pre-printed ballots used on Sunday appeared to confuse some voters.

According to the latest results, out of the record-breaking 86 women who ran in this year's elections, seven potentially managed to secure seats in the country's parliament, including two who run independently.

Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters to back President Bashar Assad's forces, a move that has been criticised by many Lebanese who see the group as dragging the country into regional conflicts. A coalition that includes the two groups and their allies won more than half of all seats.

The man who has led calls internally for Hezbollah to lay down its arms is Hariri, whose Sunni-dominated Future Movement lost a third of its seats.

Hezbollah is considered a terrorist group by the United States, but its political wing has long held seats in Lebanon's parliament and was part of Lebanon's outgoing coalition government.

The Christian Lebanese Forces, outspoken critics of Hezbollah, are expected to roughly double their representation in parliament, to around 15 seats.

LEBANON held their first election in nine years and with the introduction of a proportional voting system, experts were anticipating voter enthusiasm that would bring about record participation.

Despite the results, Mr Hariri pledged to "to participate in securing political stability and to improve the lives of all the Lebanese".An Israeli minister said the election results meant Lebanon and Hezbollah were indistinguishable.

Lebanon's distinctive model of sectarian-driven, power-sharing politics imply rival factions usually find yourself in the identical authorities, as is the case now the place Hezbollah is represented in Hariri's cupboard.

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An anti-Hezbollah alliance led by Hariri and backed by Saudi Arabia won a majority in parliament in 2009. Hezbollah has declared victory.

"We were betting on a better result", admitted Hariri, whose party nonetheless remains one of the largest in parliament.

Turnout stood at a lowly 49 percent, according to official figures released after Sunday's vote by the interior ministry.

One image showed a Hezbollah flag attached to a statue of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, allegedly by members of the group.

Among strong security measures with deployment of tanks and hundreds of troops from Lebanese army, strongholds of Shia parties of Amal and Hezbollah and Christians of Lebanese Forces celebrated ir respective victories spinning with ir Vehicles or with air-shots.

Some Israeli analysts suggest they should be pleased with the election results.

"Hariri's loss will be the distinguishing mark of these elections, which will have consequences on the battle to form a new government", the pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar daily wrote earlier on Monday.

Consistent with the "nationwide pact" relationship from independence in 1943, the president should be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shiite.

Hezbollah is the only group that kept its weapons after the end of Lebanon's civil war.

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