Hezbollah worried over post-election funds

May 28, 2009 at 3:03 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, May 28 (UPI) -- Hezbollah approached the International Monetary Fund and the European Union to secure funding for Lebanon in the event of an election victory, officials say.

Washington is eying the June 7 parliamentary elections in Lebanon carefully as it appears the March 8 coalition, which includes Hezbollah, will emerge with a small majority over the pro-Western March 14 slate.

U.S. officials, for their part, have linked continued financial support to Lebanon to the upcoming elections. Apart from Washington, Beirut receives substantial financial backing from Saudi Arabia, a Sunni state.

The Shiite Hezbollah, apparently worried over financial support, approached international officials on the post-election scenario for Lebanon, The New York Times reports.

The IMF is set for pending authorization of a $114 million loan for Lebanon and the EU pledges $84 million in yearly support.

Simonetta Nardin, an IMF representative, told the Times it was not negotiating loan deals with Hezbollah members or supporters, but acknowledged frequent meetings with lawmakers in the Lebanese Parliament, which includes members of Hezbollah.

Though the outcome of the June 7 elections are largely symbolic, given the dynamics of the Lebanese political system, a March 8 victory may be inconsequential as the margin of victory is expected to be very narrow, creating a powerful minority.

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