BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 3 (UPI) -- Fears that a victory for the opposition March 8 coalition will give Hezbollah control over the country and its military forces are misplaced, analysts say.
Members of March 8, including Hezbollah, the Christian Free Patriotic Movement and the secular Amal Movement, could emerge from the June 7 parliamentary elections in Lebanon with a slim majority.
While a March 8 victory could possibly fracture the pro-Western March 14 coalition that supported the 2005 Cedar Revolution, it is not guaranteed to bring Hezbollah to the head of the political scene in Beirut, Emirati newspaper The National reports.
As Lebanon restructures in the wake of decades of Syrian dominance, current President Michel Suleiman, an Independent with modest widespread appeal, took over a security apparatus previously controlled by Amal and Hezbollah.
While Suleiman's cordial ties with Syrian and Shiite parties alike may not be the best scenario for Washington, it is an improvement over the pre-2005 climate in Lebanon, the report says.
Meanwhile, Israel has weighed in on the election scenario, saying a March 8 victory would be indistinguishable from a Hezbollah-controlled government. Washington, for its part, agrees, linking the outcome of the elections to its aid position for Lebanon.
Scholars, however, say the reality is that Lebanon will face challenges in forming a unity government more than face repercussions directly from an increased political role for Hezbollah.
"My view is that it's not a huge deal if (the opposition) wins, but what is a huge deal is how the next government forms," says Paul Salem of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Beirut.