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Lebanon: Hezbollah rejoices in “great victory” in legislative elections

Ⓒ AFP – MAHMOUD ZAYYAT – | Hezbollah campaign car travels through the streets of Nabatieh in southern Lebanon on May 6, 2018

The Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement welcomed Monday a “big victory” in the parliamentary elections, the first organized in nearly a decade in the country.

“This is a great moral and political victory for the Resistance,” Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of this allied movement in Iran, said in a speech broadcast on television.

“We can say today (…) that the goal has been achieved,” said Nasrallah, whose movement seemed Monday to confirm his grip on the political scene in Lebanon.

“The composition of the new Parliament represents a guarantee and a great strength for (…) the protection of this golden equation: the army, the people, the Resistance”, he continued, without saying how much his party and its allies had won seats.

Hezbollah is commonly called “Resistance” with reference to its fight against Israel.

Hassan Nasrallah was speaking soon after his great rival, the Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who admitted that his movement, the Future Movement, was losing a third of its seats.

The Future Movement will have 21 MPs, Hariri said at a press conference, against 33 in the outgoing Parliament (128 seats).

“We bet on a better result and a bigger block,” he admitted.

Sunday’s legislative elections were marked by a low voter turnout rate of 49.2%, in a country where corruption and nepotism attributed to the political class are causing some disenchantment among the population.

The last legislative elections in Lebanon went back to 2009.

Parliament had extended its mandate three times, citing security risks, including the conflict in neighboring Syria, which began in 2011.

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