In the Lebanese national elections, held last Sunday, Hizballah fared poorly, winning only 62 (out of 128) seats in the parliament, and thus losing its previous 71-seat majority. The Christian Lebanese Forces party—the Iran-backed terrorist group’s major political opponent—meanwhile gained four new seats. But electoral disappointments won’t weaken Hizballah’s deeply entrenched control of the country, writes Eyal Zisser:
[True], these elections are a blow to Hezbollah from which it will struggle to recover: first, the voting numbers in all of Lebanon are low, with just 41 percent of eligible voters bothering to show up. In the country’s Shiite areas, voter turnout was even lower. This can be viewed as an expression of anger and lack of faith toward Hizballah, which failed in its efforts to rally popular support.
Second, many of Hizballah’s allies among the other ethnic groups lost in the regions in which they ran against their rivals, who openly criticized their alliance with Hizballah. Among the Christians, for example, President Michel Aoun’s party suffered a trouncing, as did Hizballah’s Druze allies.
These aren’t the results Hizballah wished for, but it can live with them as long as its control over the country remains intact. . . . Hizballah will continue doing as it pleases while leaning on a corrupt elite class (the local version of mafia families in the U.S.), which will also remain in control of Lebanese society and state affairs.