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Hezbollah loses parliamentary majority in Lebanon

Hezbollah loses parliamentary majority in Lebanon
Hezbollah supporters demonstrate in front of the Palace of Justice in Beirut on October 14. Hezbollah lost its majority in Lebanon's government in the nation's election on Sunday. File Photo by Nabil Mounzer/EPA-EFE

May 17 (UPI) -- Iranian-aligned political party and militant group Hezbollah and allied parties lost their majority in Lebanon's Parliament in a vote held over the weekend, according to results released Tuesday.

All 13 of Hezbollah's members of Parliament maintained their seats but some of its allied parties lost seats, leaving its alliance with 61 seats total -- down from at least 70 after the last parliamentary elections were held in 2018 and short of the 65-seat threshold needed to ensure a majority.

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Despite the setback, Hezbollah could still achieve a majority by joining independent candidates to its alliance.

A record 12 independent candidates were elected and no party or bloc won a solid majority in Lebanon's first parliamentary election since a popular uprising in 2019 that sought to unseat the ruling class and an explosion at the port of Beirut in August 2020 that killed 200 people and launched the nation into an economic crisis.

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"The spirit of change inside the Lebanese Parliament has started," said independent candidate Layal Bou Moussa. "If they manage to unite into a single bloc, they can do something against the parties' blocs."

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The outcome is expected to lead to partisan gridlock that could further draw out the formation of a government and keep Parliament from passing key legislation, delaying the nation's recovery as the International Monetary Fund and international donors have called for significant changes before they will provide aid.

The European Union's Election Observation Mission also said the "elections were overshadowed by widespread practices of vote buying and clientelism," according to a preliminary report.

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Cities in Lebanon experienced low turnout with only about 41% of eligible voters participating.

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