After official results showing that the group’s opposition bloc had lost yesterday’s elections, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah today insisted that his group will accept the defeat “with sportsmanship and in a democratic way.” He also expressed hope that the US-backed ruling bloc would continue to keep Lebanon “independent and stable.”
At the same time, Nasrallah condemned the ruling party for bribery and deception in securing its election victory. The March 14 bloc’s campaign had centered around anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian sentiment, and warned that a vote for Hezbollah was a vote for Iranian control of the nation.
Nasrallah also added that the lack of violence incidents in the election underscored that the group’s armed faction was not a political obstacle, and that there was therefore no reason for the group to disarm. The US and its allies have pressured the Lebanese government to disarm Hezbollah, but the group’s heavy armament and considerable support has made an involuntary disarmament a virtual impossibility.
Though the victory of the ruling Sunni-led bloc has harmed the group, which many polls predicted would sweep to office amid concerns of corruption among their rivals, Hezbollah is expected to remain a significant force in the nation for years to come.