Anti-Syrian parties win majority in Lebanese parliament

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The anti-Syrian alliance gathered around Saad Hariri has won control of the Lebanese parliament at the end of Lebanon's first election in 30 years without the presence of Syrian troops.

According to unofficial figures, the anti-Syrian list of the Future, has won all 28 seats at stake in elections in northern Lebanon. "Final results show that we are ahead and show that the people have voted for change," said Saad Hariri. The victory in northern Lebanon means that for the first time since 1975, there is an anti-Syrian majority in the 128-seat parliament. The list of the Future has won 72 seats.

Christian, pro-Syrian, former foreign affairs minister, Suleiman Franjieh, conceded defeat but he also put the country on guard: "What we feared is happening. I think the north has been divided along sectarian lines." Several Lebanese newspapers also fear an increase in sectarian and religious tensions.

In the north, the anti-Syrian list triumphed over an unlikely alliance between Franjieh and Syria's erstwhile foe par excellence, General Michel Aoun. Aoun defeated the Future list in last week's election in Mount Lebanon, throwing the Christian front – for the most part gathered around the Future list – into crisis.

The Future list – which draws inspiration from the inter-confessional movement born after the assassination of Rafic Hariri on 14 February last – will have 72 seats; Aoun will hold 21 seats; pro-Syrian Muslims (Amal and Hezbollah) will have 35 seats. The Future list has not managed to secure two-thirds of the parliament, necessary to change the constitution and to threaten pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud.