CONTENT PREVIEW
Country Risk

Lebanese election results create little change, with Hizbullah able to pursue objectives and block its rivals

10 May 2018
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri holds a press conference in Beirut to discuss the country’s general election on 7 May 2018. Source: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Key Points

  • The main participants in the settlement that allowed the election of a president in 2016 and the subsequent formation of a cabinet has mostly preserved or reinforced their positions, ensuring policy stability.
  • The government is likely to proceed with legislation and the issuing of contracts for the energy sector in a manner that reflects the current balance of power.
  • Israel war risks are unaffected by the results of the election, despite the increase in Hizbullah’s share of the vote.

Event

Official election results show no major change in the composition of the Lebanese Parliament. The notable exception is a decline in the power of the predominantly Sunni Future Movement, due to decreased backing from Saudi Arabia and the new election law that empowered other Sunni parties and leaders.

Results for the first Lebanese parliamentary election to be held since 2009 were announced on 7 May. The Sunni Future Movement, led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and traditionally backed by Saudi Arabia, was the main loser in the elections, with its parliamentary bloc decreasing from 34 seats to 21, while the pro-Iran bloc dominated by Shia movement Hizbullah and Amal, and the Christian Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), with its various Druze and Sunni allies, expanded their representation from 58 to 77 out of 128 seats.

Hariri’s group had been the main political force confronting Hizbullah and demanding that they disarm, but has increasingly been forced to accommodate it. The Future Movement lost seats primarily to Christian parties that are part of the sitting national unity cabinet, namely the Lebanese Forces and the FPM. It also lost seats to Sunni leaders who challenged the role of Hariri as the primary representative of Lebanese Sunnis and want even closer relations with Hizbullah and Iran, and to Hizbullah itself in its Beirut stronghold.

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