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Western-backed parties win crucial Lebanese elections

Issue No. 2155

The governing coalition in Lebanon swept back into power in the general election last Sunday.

The March 14 coalition confounded predictions that the opposition, led by the Hizbollah resistance movement, would form the next government.

These results are a set back for the resistance and its allies.

The vote took place under extreme pressure. Israel threatened to attack the country if Hizbollah led the government. The US, many European countries and Saudi Arabia all prepared to cut aid to Lebanon.

For the US the stakes were high. Barack Obama sent his vice-president Joe Biden and secretary of state Hillary Clinton to Beirut as part of an anti-Hizbollah campaign.

The ruling parties paid for expats, many of whom support the government, to fly back for the vote.

Hizbollah’s failure, however, is also of its own making. The organisation and its allies emerged out of the 2006 war with Israel with huge popularity.

But they lost much of this after joining a national unity government and voting through a massive programme of cuts and privatisation.


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International
Tue 9 Jun 2009, 18:52 BST
Issue No. 2155
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