Turkey welcomes elections in Lebanon

Turkey welcomes elections in Lebanon

Turkey welcomes elections in Lebanon

Turkey has welcomed the peaceful completion of Lebanon’s general elections held on May 15.

“We wish that the election results will contribute to social peace, tranquility and stability of Lebanon and hope that a new government will be formed as soon as possible so that the challenges Lebanon has been facing can be effectively addressed,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on May 15.

As a strong defender and supporter of sovereignty, unity, stability and security of Lebanon, Turkey will continue to support the people and the state of Lebanon, it added.

Hezbollah, allies lose their majority in Lebanon parliament

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group and its allies lost their parliamentary majority, while more than a dozen independents gained seats, according to final tally released Tuesday. The results signal a significant shift in country gripped by a devastating financial meltdown.

The Hezbollah-led coalition won 61 seats in the 128-member legislature, a drop of 10 members since the last vote was held four years ago. The loss was largely due to setbacks suffered by the group’s political partners, and was not expected to weaken the Iran-backed group’s domination of Lebanese politics. All 13 Hezbollah candidates who ran got elected.

Still, the results were hailed as a breakthrough for groups opposed to Hezbollah and the country’s other mainstream political parties blamed for the collapse, introducing more new independent faces than was expected.

Hezbollah’s most vocal opponents, the nationalist Christian Lebanese Forces party, emerged as the biggest winner, while its Christian rival, the Free Patriotic Movement founded by President Michel Aoun, suffered a political setback.

Though Christian, the Free Patriotic Movement is an ally of the Shiite Muslim Hezbollah. The Lebanese Forces now has the largest bloc in parliament with 19 seats, overtaking the Free Patriotic Movement, which now holds 17 seats, a drop of three seats from the previous vote.

Despite the setback, Hezbollah and its main Shiite ally, the Amal group of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, retained the 27 seats allocated to the Shiite sect.

Independents and newcomers, including those from the 2019 protest movement, scooped 14 seats. That was a major achievement considering they went into the vote fragmented and facing intimidation and threats by entrenched mainstream parties.

Their showing sends a strong message to ruling class politicians who have for decades held on to their seats and despite an economic meltdown that has impoverished the country and triggered the biggest wave of emigration since the 1975-90 civil war.