Muslims gain by Christian poll boycott
As voters in Muslim and Druze areas flocked to polling stations, the Christians abstained from voting in answer to a call by Christian opposition groups, who insist the election is a plot by Damascus to further control Lebanon. But the Christian boycott played into the hands of pro-Damascus and Muslim fundamentalist candidates.
Results for the Christian Ba'abda district in Mount Lebanon showed that three pro-Syrian Christians, a Shia Muslim and a Druze as well as a pro-Iranian Hizbollah candidate won seats in the 128-member national assembly.
The victory of the Hizbollah candidate, Ali Ammar, was the main surprise, as he defeated a pro-Syrian favourite.
Hizbollah, a rising force in Lebanon's internal political arena, astonished many when it won a landslide victory in last week's elections in eastern Lebanon. Four Hizbollah officials, including three clerics, and four allied candidates defeated a strong list of traditional leaders led by the House Speaker, Hussein Husseini.
'This is a victory for Islam, a victory for the resistance, a victory that we present to all our martyrs,' the Hizbollah-run Voice of Light radio said after the results were announced.
During yesterday's vote, Israeli warplanes attacked a Hizbollah post in south Lebanon and the militants detonated a bomb near a pro-Israeli militia patrol.
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