Lebanon: Anger over Soleimani’s Interference in Elections Results

Lebanese PM-designate Saad Hariri addresses reporters following his meeting with President Michel Aoun. (Dalati & Nohra)

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat

Tuesday, 12 June, 2018

Beirut – Paula Astih

In his first comments on the results of the Lebanese parliamentary elections, the leader of the Quds Force in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Qassem Soleimani, said that for the first time, “Hezbollah” won 74 out of 128 parliamentary seats.

The party has developed to become “a resistance state in Lebanon,” he declared.

Based on his comments, Soleimani included the 29 deputies of the “Strong Lebanon” bloc, which is affiliated to President Michel Aoun, in the “Hezbollah” parliamentary bloc.

In fact, the party only has 13 deputies represented in parliament, while the Amal movement has 17.

“Lebanon’s recent election was a referendum. They came at a time when everybody was accusing ‘Hezbollah’ of interfering in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and the region as a whole,” Soleimani said.

He added: “They described all [Hezbollah] supporters, even if they were Sunnis and others, as Iran’s agents, but these elections were not affected by these circumstances and the $200 million dollars that were spent” during the polls.

The Iranian official’s comments drew immediate condemnation in Lebanon.

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri described the statements as “regrettable.”

“We would have liked to have state-to-state relations (with Iran) and if some have lost in Iraq, it does not mean they should seek to compensate for this loss somewhere else,” Hariri said following a meeting with President Michel Aoun on Monday.

A Strong Lebanon deputy also criticized Soleimani’s comments, asserting that his bloc did not belong to a team against another.

The Strong Lebanon bloc is the largest parliamentary bloc in the new parliament, with 29 deputies, 18 of whom are members in political parties.

Researcher at Information International Mohammed Shamseddine said that the number of deputies, who can be classified as directly belonging to “Hezbollah” is 43.

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Shamseddine said: “Soleimani’s insistence on talking about 74 deputies is only symbolic.”

The parliamentary elections, the first since 2009, were held on May 6.