Hezbollah and allies who support its armed presence have lost the parliamentary majority they held since 2018 in Lebanon, according to a Reuters tally of official results released on Tuesday, dealing a major blow to the heavily armed group.
Hezbollah, the Shi'ite Amal Movement, the Christian Free Patriotic Movement and a number of other MPs considered to support the group's armed presence in the country now hold around 62 seats, compared with 71 in the outgoing parliament.
A source allied with the group confirmed the number to Reuters.
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.
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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.
There was no immediate comment from Saudi Arabia, but Iran on Monday said it respected the vote and had never intervened in Lebanon's internal affairs.
The United States, which has imposed sanctions on Hezbollah, welcomed the elections and encouraged politicians to recommit to economic reforms.
Sunday’s parliamentary elections were the first since Lebanon’s economic meltdown began in late 2019. The government’s factions have done virtually nothing to address the collapse, leaving Lebanese to fend for themselves as they plunge into poverty, without electricity, medicine, garbage collection or any other semblance of normal life.
The vote is also the first since a deadly explosion at Beirut’s port in August 2020 that killed more than 200, wounded thousands and damaged parts of the capital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.