1001 GMT June 25, 2022
By Mostafa Moslehzadeh*
According to the final results of the recent parliamentary elections in Lebanon, Hezbollah and the resistance movement have lost their majority in parliament. Of course, no group has been able to win the majority. Therefore, to form a government, a coalition from different parties should be created. It is expected that the future government, which will consist of groups opposed to Hezbollah, would not be a cohesive government that would be able to get the country out of the current situation. But before analyzing this issue, it is necessary to point out why Hezbollah and its allies lost their majority in parliament.
Undoubtedly, the fact that the resistance coalition was blamed for the country’s status quo had a great impact on Hezbollah’s defeat in the elections.
Following a big explosion in Beirut’s port and the subsequent coronavirus outbreak, a period of economic instability and turmoil along with foreign intervention made things difficult for the government and parliament. Meanwhile, ahead of the elections, Hezbollah had significant differences with its rivals. The opposition did not respect any red lines in the media campaign in lying and accusing the other side, while Hezbollah did not resorted to such immoral media methods and, therefore, the opposition got the upper hand in the media battle. Due to concerns over the eruption of another civil war in the country, Hezbollah preferred not to take any action in order to reach its goals. In fact, Hezbollah played a paternal role in Lebanon. But the opposition did not have these considerations.
Another issue was the country’s economic situation and the considerations of various groups regarding the independence of Lebanon. Opposition groups were financially supported by foreign countries and didn’t worry about the independence of the country. On the other hand, Hezbollah and the resistance movement, which were facing economic woes, did not resort to illegal moves against the country’s independence in order to resolve economic problems. In fact, the resistance and its rivals were not in the same position in terms of financial support for their election campaigns.
Given these circumstances, the loss of the parliamentary majority by Hezbollah was not strange and unpredictable.
The government and the majority in parliament were blamed for the difficult situation that has existed in the past few years, which was caused by Beirut’s explosion, the coronavirus outbreak, and anti-government protests.
Hezbollah’s rivals can now form a coalition government, while Hezbollah, along with its allies, will become the largest opposition faction in parliament.
Given the lack of strategic unity among the different parliamentary groups which are set to form a coalition, it seems that the alliance would not be able to form a strong and cohesive government. Due to the differences that may arise among the coalition’s groups, the parliament may not run a full term.
In the meantime, rival groups will have the opportunity to present their demand for the disarmament of Hezbollah. Since they consider Hezbollah’s weapons a factor for its superiority, they will try to take this advantage away from Hezbollah. However, disarmament is one of the red lines of the resistance movement. Although, some parliamentary groups will openly present this demand in parliament, it seems that other groups are not willing to interfere in such matters at any cost.
Although Hezbollah and its allies have lost the majority in parliament, this does not mean that they will be removed from the Lebanese political scene. They will continue their political activities as a large opposition faction. They now have the opportunity to better rebuild Lebanon’s economy as well as the cultural, security and defense issues, and to increase their readiness to face unpredictable situations.
Hezbollah can also change the majority in parliament and impeach the government by attracting a number of independent representatives, or other parliamentary groups.
*Mostafa Moslehzadeh is university professor and former Iranian ambassador to Jordan.