Hezbollah claims victory

10/01/2019 Posted by admin

Official results for the elections in the south of the country won’t be available until Tuesday but Hezbollah and its running partner Amal claim to have won all of the 23 contested seats.

The pro-Syrian coalition could have captured up to 80 per cent of the vote, according to unofficial counting.

“I thank all my people in the great south for renewing their confidence in the list and for the victory of all its candidates,” said Amal leader and parliament speaker Nabih Berri.

Outside Mr Berri’s villa, hundreds of supporters waved Amal flags in celebration, while in the capital Beirut there were fireworks

In villages and towns the party faithful honked their horns and flew the parties’ yellow and green flags.

Much of Hezbollah’s support is drawn from the majority Shi’ites.

Many see the unofficial win as a vindication of Hezbollah’s arms use in defence against Israel, which pulled out of the Lebanon’s south after 22 years of occupation.

Hezbollah is largely credited for forcing Israel out in 2000.

“The aim is to defend Lebanon, not the weapons of the resistance. But to defend Lebanon we must defend the weapons,” said deputy head of Hezbollah Sheikh Naeem Kassem.

“Today, southerners said this and the international community must listen.”

Voters in southern towns were encouraged to vote for the coalition to protest international efforts to disarm Hezbollah.

One political banner in the mainly Sunni city of Sidon read: “Your vote is a bullet in the enemy’s chest.”

The US classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist group, but it and the more moderate Amal share strong support among Lebanon’s majority Shi’ite community.

Lebanon’s new parliament is under pressure to honour a UN resolution to disarm Hezbollah.

These elections are the first since Syria ended its 29 year military presence in Lebanon and will take place region by region until June 19.

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