Lebanon's PM Hariri says his party lost third of parliament seats

Lebanon celebrates its first parliamentary election on Sunday in nine years

Voter turnout in this year's election was at 49.2 percent, down from 54 percent in 2009. Civil society-based reformers in Lebanon had hoped a new voting system partly based on proportional representation and introduced for the election would herald a major political shake-up and start a breakup of Lebanon's decades-old sectarian politics, which is based on a power-sharing arrangement involving the different religious elites.

The next government, like the outgoing one, will likely be a unity government that incorporates Hariri's opponents from the Shia Hezbollah group.

Senior political leaders, including Hariri himself and Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk whose task it was to supervise the vote, admitted that new voting rules tested for the first time had been perplexing for the electorate.

Global donors want to see Beirut embark on serious economic reforms to reduce state debt levels before they will release billions pledged at a Paris conference in April.

The election came after an intense campaign cycle where establishment parties hastily glued together a dizzying map of local alliances to navigate the new electoral law, which appeared to offer an opportunity for change.

The official results were due to be announced late on Monday.

According to a Reuters calculation based on preliminary results for almost all seats, Hezbollah and its political allies such as the Amal Movement and Free Patriotic Movement have won 67 out of the parliament's 128 seats.

That's nearly 67 out of 128 parliamentary seats.

The Hezbollah Shiite party along with its political allies may secure a victory in the recent Lebanese parliamentary election, Al Mayadeen TV reported on Monday, citing preliminary vote results.

As a result, Hariri's team only got five out of 11 seats in Beirut, with four going to Hezbollah allies, one to the Social Progressive Party of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, and one to a notable newcomer, independent Beiruti millionaire Fouad Makhzoumi. The pro-Hezbollah al-Akhbar newspaper called it "the slap" for Hariri on its front page.

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Chelsea had a full week of rest and have their focus entirely on the Premier League now, something they could really take benefit. Chelsea's Champions League qualification hopes remain alive following a 1-0 win over Liverpool at sun-drenched Stamford Bridge.

But Hezbollah lost ground in one of its strongholds, the Baalbek-Hermel constituency. "There was consensus that Kollouna Watani won two seats", Haddad told Lebanese daily Annahar.

"We hope that all Lebanese political stakeholders will continue to act responsibly in the days following polling to protect Lebanon's stability, which should include the swift formation of a government", said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Some of his Sunni supporters saw him as being too soft on Hezbollah, and the billionaire businessman also faced criticism after laying off dozens of employees from his companies in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

But that "March 14" alliance has disintegrated and Saudi Arabia has switched its attention and resources to confronting Iran in other parts of the region, notably Yemen.

Hezbollah's simple majority bloc will allow them to veto any laws they oppose, but it would take a two-thirds majority to pass big legislation, such as amending the constitution.

And the Lebanese Forces party of former warlord Samir Geagea were set to score significant gains, with a projected 15 seats.

Such a result would cement Hezbollah's role in the Lebanese government as the strongest political power in the country.

Hariri, who led years of political conflict with the group, says it is an issue to be resolved at the regional level through dialogue.

The right-leaning minister also said that Israel would hold Lebanon responsible for any possible Hezbollah action that would originate from its territory.

He said he will continue to work closely with President Michel Aoun, who is allied with a rival bloc led by the Hezbollah terror group.

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