Lebanon’s governing pro-Western coalition is claiming victory over the Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies in the country’s parliamentary election. The anti-Syrian coalition is estimated to have won around 70 seats in the 128 member assembly. On the streets the overall feeling was that the victory had been 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.” said one voter. “We wish from those who won or lost, to work for Lebanon and to not fight against each other and lose the country.” Two opinions that seem to reflect the general public mood.
The question now facing the ruling March 14 alliance led by Saad Hariri is how to disarm the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah which fielded only 11 candidates. But Hezbollah is a powerful member of the broader opposition coalition, set to attain 58 seats in parliament. Hezbollah’s main Christian ally, the Free Patriotic movement has pledged to work with the winners in a government of national unity. The vote consolidates power in the hands of Saad Hariri. His father, the former prime minister Rafiq Hariri died in a car bombing in Beirut. The angry public reaction forced Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon after a 29-year presence amid accusations that Damascus masterminded the 2005 assassination.