BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 12 (UPI) -- The victory for the Western-backed March 14 slate in the Lebanese parliamentary election brings much needed stability and legitimacy to Beirut, an analyst says.
The March 14 slate of Saad Hariri, son of slain former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, beat the opposition March 8 coalition, which includes Hezbollah, during a closely watched vote during the weekend.
Paul Salem, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, writes the March 14 victory is "good news" for Lebanon and for the region, as it secures backing from the United States and its Middle East allies.
Hezbollah, which claims it won the popular vote in the Lebanese poll, would have found itself in an uncomfortable position if March 8 won, risking U.S. financial support and open hostility from Israel, Salem notes.
March 14, however, faces challenges in forming a unity government. Though it welcomed March 8 involvement in the next government, concerns over veto power for the minority and the issue of Hezbollah weapons could leave many lingering political issues in Beirut unresolved.
While the Lebanese people have emerged from decades of conflict with modest democratic reforms, the way forward will not be easy, notes Salem.