Lebanese elections: Gebran Bassil blames US and Israel for party's woes

The head of the Free Patriotic Movement could also lose his seat in parliament

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Gebran Bassil, the head of the Christian-led Free Patriotic Movement, has hit out at what he said was a US and Israeli conspiracy in the Lebanese parliamentary election.

He made his claim as it appeared his party was set to lose seats in the election.

Mr Bassil, considered a parliamentary ally of Hezbollah and the incumbent MP for Batroun, said his party was not in a battle with Lebanese parties.

Instead, he said, they were in battle that began on October 17, 2019, when protests against Lebanon’s ruling classes spread across the country —demonstrations he claimed were engineered by the US, Israel and “its allies”.

Mr Bassil also reiterated his criticism of sanctions the US imposed on him personally in 2020 for alleged corruption and ties to Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite political party and militant group.

The polls closed at 7pm on Sunday night in Lebanon.

Official results on the final make-up of the 128-member parliament have yet to come and will not be formally announced until the coming days.

Preliminary results, however, have given an indication of where the mood is going, with some already declaring victory.

The FPM has been the biggest Christian party in parliament since its founder, President Michel Aoun, returned from exile in 2005 in France.

Mr Aoun is the father-in-law of Mr Bassil.

The FPM has won as many as 16 seats, down from 18 in 2018, Sayed Younes, the head of its electoral machine, told Reuters.

Its main Christian rival in parliament, the Lebanese Forces, has won at least 20 seats, up from 15 in 2018, said the head of its press office, Antoinette Geagea.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 5:43 AM
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