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Monday, June 08, 2009

U.S.-Backed Alliance Appears to Win in Lebanon

An American-backed alliance appeared to retain control of the Lebanese Parliament on Sunday in a hotly contested election that had been billed as a showdown between Tehran and Washington for influence in the Middle East.

Preliminary results reported on Lebanese television showed the alliance, known as the March 14 coalition, had managed to preserve its majority in Parliament. If those results are confirmed, they would represent a significant and unexpected defeat for Hezbollah and its allies, Iran and Syria. Most polls had showed a tight race, but one in which the Hezbollah-led group would win.

The tentative victory may have been aided by nearly unprecedented turnout. The preliminary results showed that about 55 percent of the 3.26 million registered voters cast ballots. Lebanese television reported that the March 14 coalition, a predominantly Sunni, Christian and Druze alliance, held at least 67 seats out of 128 in Parliament.


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