Lebanon’s pro-western ruling coalition has won a surprise victory against Iranian backed Hezbollah and its allies in the country’s parliamentary election. The anti-Syrian ‘March 14’ bloc, led by Saad Hariri took 71 of the parliament’s 128 seats.
The result strengthens the position of Hariri, the son of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated in a car bombing in Beriut in 2005, widely blamed on Syria. He is now favoured to become Prime Minister, and in Beirut the overall feeling is the election has been a victory for democracy. “It does not matter who won, the important thing is that Lebanon has witnessed something in this democratic elections which was missed for a long time,’‘ one man said. “We wish from those who won or lost to work for Lebanon and to not be against each other and lose the country.” The Hezbollah alliance, which swept the vote in Shi’ite areas, won 57 seats. Lebanon is deeply divided along ethic lines and there had been fears tension might spill over between rival factions. However, supporters of the pro-western bloc currently led by prime minister Fouad Siniora, celebrated into the night.