Lebonan

Hezbollah, Allies Score ‘Complete Victory’ in East Lebanon Vote

The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and allies have scored a resounding victory in local elections in eastern Lebanon, a show of popular support for the group’s fight against terrorists in neighboring Syria.

The Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and allies have scored a resounding victory in local elections in eastern Lebanon, a show of popular support for the group’s fight against terrorists in neighboring Syria.

Hezbollah’s deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem said Monday that the group and allies won almost all seats they had contested in 80 municipalities out of 143 in the Bekaa Valley.

“It was a complete victory,” said Qassem of the outcome of the votes in the historic city of Ba’albek and the major town of Brital, which is located along the Syria border.

Qassem said that opponents, mainly represented in a list backed by prominent families, secured seats in only six towns in the area.

The results represent a major boost for Hezbollah’s base of support in the east of Lebanon as the resistance group has been fighting against militants both in the area and across the border despite criticism by political rivals. Hezbollah says its contribution to Syria’s anti-terror fight is necessary to prevent a spillover of the militancy into Lebanon.

Votes were also held Sunday in the capital Beirut, where Hezbollah’s allies and rivals were contesting 24-seat municipal council. A coalition known as “Beirutis”, which enjoys support both from the pro-Western camp of former Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri and the Shia Muslim Amal group, along with three major groups of Christians, claimed victory based on initial results.

The turnout was quite low in Beirut, only 20 percent, as traditionally many voters in this city are disinterested in politics. However, the figure reached 48 percent in the Hezbollah-popular east and higher in Ba’albek.

Many in Lebanon suspected the votes could be held on time as other elections have been postponed over the past years due to deep divisions between groups and factions.

The political limbo is best reflected in the parliament, where lack of quorum and disagreements have caused the chamber to fail in electing a president since 2014. However, officials have vowed to stage similar municipal elections in other parts of Lebanon in coming weeks.

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