The Hezbollah-allied Free Patriotic Movement looks set to lose its position as the largest Christian party in the Lebanese parliament.
The Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror organization and political party absorbed losses during Lebanon’s parliamentary elections held on Sunday after some of its oldest allies lost seats, and a rival, Saudi-aligned Christian faction—the Lebanese Forces (LF)—announced gains in the elections, according to an international media report.
Although votes are still being counted and the final make-up of the Lebanese parliament has yet to be announced, the Christian Lebanese Forces party, which is a major adversary of Hezbollah, won at least 20 seats—up from 15 in the last parliamentary elections held in 2018, France 24 said in a report on Monday.
The Christian Hezbollah-allied Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) now looks set to lose its position as the largest Christian party in the Lebanese parliament as a result, after winning up to 16 seats, down from the number it won in 2018, the report said.
The FPM’s founder, Michel Aoun, serves as Lebanon’s president, and he is a close ally of Hezbollah.
The LF, which traces its origins as an armed militia during Lebanon’s 15-year civil war period, has repeatedly called on Hezbollah to disarm.
In addition, a Hezbollah-allied Druze politician, Talal Arslan, lost his seat to a newcomer, independent Mark Daou, who ran on a reformist agenda, said France 24.
Hezbollah itself and its traditional allies still appear to have retained a majority of their collective 71 seats in parliament, which they won in 2018, according to the report. But it remains unclear at this stage whether Hezbollah and its allies can hold on to their parliamentary majority.
The report cited observers as saying that the results of around 15 seats would be crucial in determining whether the Hezbollah bloc or its political adversary would achieve a parliamentary majority, but that the results already indicate a “clear loss” for the Hezbollah-allied FPM.
Hezbollah has tens of thousands of armed personnel deployed in Lebanon, particularly in its south, and is armed with approximately 150,000 projectiles, according to Israeli assessments. It fought a war with Israel in 2006, which began after the organization launched a deadly cross-border raid on an Israel Defense Forces border patrol.