Iran Hails Lebanon Elections as Victory for Entire Lebanese Nation

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Qassemi also congratulated the candidates that have won the vote of people in the first parliamentary elections in Lebanon in nine years.

Hezbollah, which was created in the 1980s to fight against Israel and now battles in Syria alongside regime forces, is listed as a terror organisation by the United States, while the European Union lists Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist, differentiating between its military activities and political.

Hariri's Future Movement picked up only 21 seats this election, whereas in the last round of parliamentary elections the bloc picked up 33 seats and held a previous anti-Hezbollah coalition known as the "March 14 Alliance", supported by Saudi Arabia. Economic stagnation and the general disappointment over the devastating war in neighbouring Syria leading to a massive influx of refugees into Lebanon might have propelled them against the prime minister, the AP report said.

Astute pre-electoral tactics have secured Hezbollah enough allies to withstand political challenges on strategic issues.

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"Hariri's loss will be the distinguishing mark of these elections, which will have consequences on the battle to form a new government", the pro-Hezbollah Al-Akhbar daily wrote earlier on Monday.

The two main protagonists of the country's first legislative polls in nearly a decade did not wait for official results to comment on the implications of a vote which was also marked by low turnout.

Hezbollah and its allies appear set to take at least 47 seats in the 128-seat parliament, which would enable them to veto any laws the Shiite group opposes.

Turnout was 49.2 percent, according to officials.

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In Beirut precincts, the turnout was between 32 percent and 42 percent.

But many, including Machnouk, blamed the new, complex law which redrew constituency districts for the tepid turnout, particularly in Beirut as the new pre-printed ballots used on Sunday appeared to confuse some voters.

Hezbollah and its political affiliates secured 67 seats in the Lebanese parliament, bringing them to a simple majority, according to unofficial results from both politicians like Hariri and Lebanese news outlets.

Branded a terrorist group by the United States, the heavily armed Shia Hezbollah has grown in strength since joining the war in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad in 2012.

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