Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/17/2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022






Election Results Sees Hezbollah & Allies Lose Majority in Lebanese Parliament
According to official results released by the Ministry of Interior today, the Hezbollah-allied parliamentary bloc seems to have lost significant leverage in the Lebanese Parliament, given that, the pro-Hezbollah bloc secured 58 seats, fewer than the 65 seats needed to secure a majority, and down from 71 in the previous parliament,” and that the, “Free Patriotic Movement, a Hezbollah ally, is no longer the country’s largest Christian parliamentary bloc, winning 18 seats in Sunday’s elections.” [Al Jazeera]




UN Secretary General Calls For Swift Formation Of Government
In a statement released in the aftermath of the May 15th Parliamentary Elections, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that he, “looks forward to the swift formation of an inclusive government that can finalize the agreement with the International Monetary Fund and accelerate the implementation of reforms necessary to set Lebanon on the path to recovery.” [Naharnet]




Reuters Highlights Two Re-Elected MP’s Charged Over Port of Beirut Explosion
According to Reuters, Interior Ministry results show Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zeaiter, both running with the Hezbollah-backed Shi’ite Amal Movement, won seats in Baalbek-Hermel and south Lebanon respectively. Khalil and Zeaiter were charged in December 2020 but deny any wrongdoing and have declined to attend interrogation hearings, citing immunity afforded to them by their parliamentary seats. The investigations are secret so the exact charges against them have not been made public.” [Reuters]









L’Orient Today
Our Full Breakdown Of Newly Elected MPs By Party Affiliation
“The May 15 parliamentary elections have redrawn the political map in Lebanon in ways that remain to be fully determined. Below is the full list of winning candidates from the May 15 parliamentary elections, with the distribution of political party blocs and the classification of each candidate, to give an idea of the new political landscape..”




Washington Institute For Near East Policy
What Hezbollah’s Parliamentary Loss Means For Lebanon

Hanin Ghaddar
Ghaddar writes, “Hezbollah lost nearly everywhere in Lebanon, and although it managed to force the preservation of its twenty-seven-member Shia bloc in parliament, its support appears to be slipping even among this core constituency. Compared to the 2018 election, all Shia districts witnessed lower turnout, indicating that a considerable silent majority is dissatisfied with the group politically. Moreover, the new independent members of parliament generally do not abide by sectarian identities or political affiliations. This is a big break from the opposition’s former “March 14” coalition, which was larger but definitely more sectarian. In addition to new civil society representatives, a combination of winning factions—Samy Gemayel’s Kataeb Party, traditional independent candidates, the new anti-Hezbollah Sunni bloc, and the Lebanese Forces with their largest bloc yet—could have a real chance to take Lebanon in a new direction. The formation of the next government, the outcome of the presidential election, and, most imminently, the selection of the next speaker of parliament will go a long way toward determining the horizons of this potential change.”




Middle East Institute
Lebanese Elections Bring Change

Paul Salem
Salem writes, It is fair to say that the results of these elections came as a surprise even to civil society and reform groups who had begun to lose hope in the possibility of change. It shows how much elections still matter, and how much political mobilization and voting can bring about change, even in a dysfunctional and militia-dominated country like Lebanon. In the weeks ahead the parliament has first to elect a speaker. Amal leader Nabih Berri has been speaker for the past 30 years, and might be so again, but the election results make his road to victory more challenging. Next, the president must engage in parliamentary consultations to designate someone to form the next government. The current Prime Minister Najib Mikati fared poorly in these elections, but it’s not yet clear who might emerge as an alternative. The next big political milestone is the presidential election that should take place this fall. Hezbollah’s original plan, to try to get one of its close allies, Gibran Bassil or Suleiman Frangieh, into that position, is no longer viable. As electing a president requires a two-thirds quorum in parliament — a ratio that no political coalition has — the country might be bound for a presidential vacuum of extended duration.”






Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.