Lebanons Hezbollah appears headed to election losses in early

Monday, May 16, 2022
author picture Leo Bernard
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Lebanon's Hezbollah Heads to Election Losses in Early November

Hezbollah has consolidated full control of the Shia constituency in Lebanon's elections. While its Christian ally has lost ground to the Lebanese Forces‚ its Shia allies are doing just fine. Meanwhile‚ the Future Movement party of Prime Minister Saad Hariri seems destined to lose ground to Hezbollah. This article will explain why.

Hezbollah consolidates full control of Shia constituency

While many analysts have warned that a confrontation between the Shia parties and Hezbollah will be inevitable‚ Monday's elections will likely aggravate the situation. Israeli ministers have weighed in on the prospect of a stronger Hezbollah in Lebanon's political scene. A Reuters report cited a security cabinet minister as saying‚ The political situation in Lebanon is quite fluid. While Hezbollah's strength has been derived from its military capabilities and the consistent backing of Iran‚ the organization has developed an enduring bond with the Shia community in Lebanon. It has fought Israel for forty years and waged a war on terror. Hezbollah's military capability and political mobilization guarantee its political ascent in the country. Despite the strong religious base‚ Hezbollah neglected areas with high concentrations of coreligionists. In fact‚ in some districts‚ Hezbollah did not even target these districts seriously until recent years. The Future Movement did not even serve Sunni populations in the south of Beirut‚ as it perceives no electoral utility in serving them. The Future Movement‚ on the other hand‚ did not campaign heavily in the Shia communities in these districts‚ but they did serve a few Shia candidates there. As the civil war in Lebanon ended‚ Hezbollah began to mobilize the Shia of Jbeil. Although this community is not within its main territorial bases‚ it has a substantial Shia population. During its early years‚ Shiite clerics would visit local qadas and meet with local men to increase religious awareness. Hezbollah's efforts in Jbeil were not without results. Since the end of the war‚ Hezbollah's electoral ambition has increased. They have established welfare institutions in heterogeneous areas and a militia force. In the 1990s‚ additional institutions were established to support the Shia electoral prospects. While the Future Movement and Hezbollah have different political mobilization strategies‚ both parties have the same ideological and religious base. Hezbollah's speeches do not provide exhaustive analytical categories of resistance. But by focusing on the diversity of resistance‚ Nasrallah appealed to a broad range of audiences. Whether the audience is a religious or political one‚ the speakers were concerned with how resistance can reconcile its actions with piety. It is a universal struggle. Hezbollah appealed to the local Shia population through the story of Hussain bin Ali's martyrdom. The Hezbollah narrative has become an increasingly prominent feature of the muqawama. The resistance discourse became more unified and reified as the group became involved in the Syrian Civil War. In eastern Lebanon‚ they fought Takfiri groups. This has further complicated sectarian relations. However‚ Hezbollah's strategy in Syria is crucial for achieving its political goals.

Hezbollah's Christian ally loses ground to Lebanese Forces

Aoun has accused Hezbollah of responsibility for a Shi'ite car bombing and vandalism while his Christian ally‚ Bitar‚ claims the other side was responsible for the attacks. The two sides blame each other for the violence in the Christian neighborhood. Geagea is standing by Bitar and says Hezbollah started the trouble and should be held accountable for it. The new cabinet has a Hezbollah ally in the Health Ministry. It could be part of an attempt to burnish its credentials‚ as it controls a large portion of the Lebanese economy. Meanwhile‚ the Lebanese Armed Forces have more money and discretionary funds than ever before‚ thanks to patient U.S. support. As Hezbollah's Christian allied lost ground to the Lebanese Forces‚ the Christian coalition is losing the battle for power. While it is possible to maintain control over the government‚ the situation in Lebanon is far from stable. The situation is worse than the worst since the 1975-1990 civil war. Hezbollah and its allies may hold the majority‚ but Sunni Muslim candidates will face a more difficult battle to remain in power. While the next government formation is slow‚ the result of the election is still significant. The Christian ally of Hezbollah‚ the Amal Movement‚ and the Christian ally‚ Lebanese Forces‚ will likely hold the majority of seats in the next parliament. The next president will be selected in October‚ when Aoun's term expires. The deadly clashes in Tayouneh negatively impacted Hezbollah's Maronite ally. This made the Christian ally of Hezbollah more popular. It is important for the Christian party to remain allied with Hezbollah to keep control of the country. The FPM's stance towards Hezbollah's political rivals will affect the Maronite party. Lebanon's Christians have been vocal critics of Hezbollah. The Christian Lebanese Forces won at least 20 seats in Sunday's elections‚ adding five seats to their seats from last year. If the Christian Lebanese Forces wins‚ it will replace the Free Patriotic Movement as the largest Christian bloc in parliament. However‚ independent candidates also have small gains‚ indicating that they have a growing desire for change‚ especially after the protests and the 2020 Beirut port explosion. The Christian Lebanese Forces may be able to gain more seats than Hezbollah's allies in Lebanon's parliamentary elections. Meanwhile‚ independent candidates have also made gains in the country's first democratic election since the uprising in March 2019. But the power-sharing political system limits the chances of major changes in the political landscape. Hezbollah has a long history of global terrorism‚ and the group has been designated as a terrorist group by many countries. It has long cultivated close relationships with Iran and Syria‚ and has fought alongside the Assad regime in Syria. But the FPM's ties to Hezbollah contradict its core principles. The Christian party wants to bolster its Christian vote in the confessional community.

Hariri's Future Movement party loses ground to Lebanese Forces

Despite losing ground in the recent elections‚ Hariri's Future Movement party is still the leading political force in Lebanon. Although the party inherited a poor electoral record‚ many of its supporters remain enthusiastic about its program. Among them‚ they point to the success of Hezbollah‚ which they deem to be more powerful than the Lebanese Forces. However‚ there is a big question mark over the future of Hezbollah‚ which won a majority of 71 seats in the 2018 elections. The party is now in the minority in the parliament‚ and the failure to form a majority could spark civil war and social implosion. In such a situation‚ foreign powers might be forced to intervene. The political hegemony of sectarian leaders became clear in the reign of Prime Minister Diab‚ who had stepped down after the October protests began. The economic crisis had deepened during Diab's tenure. While he promised structural reforms‚ he failed to implement them. He even failed to pass a capital control law. This further eroded public trust in the government‚ and it could have led to more civil unrest. Despite the fact that the current political system has a strong tendency toward sectarianism‚ none of the established parties in Lebanon openly agitate against democracy. Instead‚ they give lip service to it in relation to Western actors. Lebanese Forces‚ meanwhile‚ are members of the International Democratic Union and Centrist Democrat International. However‚ their lack of commitment to democratization undermines their democratic record. The current stalemate between the political class and civil society depends on external forces. The Western donor community is not helping Lebanon‚ and the lower strata of society is suffering a lack of economic opportunity. Thousands of Palestinian refugees have fled their homes‚ and many foreign migrant workers are out of work‚ unable to send money home to their families. This is particularly problematic for people who migrated to Lebanon. The resulting crisis has highlighted the fact that the Lebanese political class is not prepared to learn from the mistakes of the past and are simply determined to hold onto power and privileges. They failed to develop policies to guarantee an adequate supply of water and electricity. The government rely on highly unsustainable diesel generators and other non-renewable sources of energy. Lebanon's relations with its immediate neighbors are conflict-loaded. Israel has waged several wars in Lebanon and still does not have diplomatic relations. Israel and Lebanon are scheduled to enter maritime border negotiations in late 2020. The Syrian air force targets Hezbollah as an ally in the Syrian civil war. The League of Arab States (LAS) has urged Lebanon to embark on economic reform.