Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accepted the result of Lebanon’s parliamentary election, in which his US backed opponents won a majority.
Nasrallah conceded defeat in a televised address, saying: “I would like to congratulate all the winners in yesterday’s election, whether from the ruling majority or from the opposition and we hope they realise that they are now responsible for the people.” The results put the western-backed coalition of Said Hariri on 71 parliamentary seats, compared to 57 for the opposition alliance including the Shi’ite factions Hezbollah and Amal, along with Christian leader Michel Aoun. “I don’t think the parties will reach a complete and final stalemate, like they did in 2007-2008, which led to fighting in the streets. I think both sides have learned the lesson that they cannot completely ignore the other side, that in the end they have to find some agreement, some accommodation,” said Paul Salem, Director of the Carnegie Middle East Centre. Nasrallah said opposition leaders would meet soon to agree on a joint position on the naming of a new prime minister and the formation of a new government. Hariri has previously said the opposition could join a unity government, but without veto power, which Hezbollah sees as vital.