Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies have lost their majority in Lebanon’s parliament in a general election, a Reuters tally of final results showed on Tuesday, a major blow to the heavily armed group reflecting anger with Lebanon’s ruling elite.
The Shi’ite Muslim movement and factions that support its possession of arms won around 62 of parliament’s 128 seats in Sunday’s election, a reversal of the 2018 result when they secured a majority of 71.
In the first election since Lebanon’s devastating economic collapse and the Beirut port explosion of 2020, reform-minded political newcomers won 12 seats, an unexpectedly strong breakthrough into a system long dominated by the same groups.
Hezbollah opponents including the Saudi-aligned Lebanese Forces – a Christian faction – gained ground, claiming to have overtaken the Hezbollah-allied Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) as Lebanon’s biggest single Christian party.
The results leave parliament split into several camps, none of which have a majority, raising the prospect of political paralysis and tensions that could delay badly needed reforms to steer Lebanon out of its economic collapse.
In one of many startling results, a political newcomer dislodged the Hezbollah-allied Druze politician Talal Arslan, heir to one of Lebanon’s oldest political dynasties.
Other prominent Hezbollah allies to lose seats included Sunni Muslim politician Faisal Karami, scion of another Lebanese political dynasty, the final results showed.
While the 2018 election pulled Lebanon closer into the orbit of Shi’ite Muslim-led Iran, this result could open the way for Saudi Arabia to reassert influence in a country that has long been an arena of its regional rivalry with Tehran.