Active negotiations between Hezbollah and Amal Movement have neared completion after the so-called “Shi’ite duo” agreed that the sect’s parliamentary seats would be shared consensually.
Such a deal means the two sides would run in the elections in May under the framework of an alliance that would be open to electoral understandings with other parties.
Hezbollah and Amal Movement have agreed to share the two Shi’ite parliamentary seats in Beirut’s second electoral district, as well as in Baabda, while Hezbollah would occupy the only Shi’ite seat in Jbeil, upon an agreement with the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).
As for Baalbek-Hermel electoral district, Amal would have one seat against four seats for Hezbollah, provided that the movement would nominate the single Shi’ite candidate in Western Bekaa, while Hezbollah would nominate the Shi’ite candidate in Zahle. In South Lebanon, the sect’s electoral distribution is expected to remain the same, i.e. five deputies for Hezbollah and eight for Amal.
Since the adoption of the new electoral law, which is based on the proportional representation system, electoral experts, as well as parties opposed to the Shi’ite duo, have emphasized that the party and Amal were the main beneficiaries, although the new law would allow the Shi’ite opposition to win two seats for the first time in Parliament.
Researcher at Information International Mohammed Shamseddine said that the new law was tailored to best suit the interests of the Shi’ite duo. He told Asharq Al-Awsat that the bloc formed of Hezbollah, Amal, the National Party and Baath Movement would not only maintain the same size in Parliament, but might also gain one more parliamentary seat to reach 31 deputies.
Shamseddine added that the Shi’ite opposition could win in two districts: Baalbek-Hermel, where the opposition is expected to secure around 18,000 votes, winning one out of the six Shi’ite seats. The other district is Nabatieh-Bint Jbeil-Zahrani, where the opposition, if united, would be able to win one out of 11 parliamentary seats in the constituency.
He also said that Zahrani-Tyre district would witness an electoral battle, but the opposition would not be able to break the Amal-Hezbollah alliance, as the electoral scale there ranges between 22,000 and 25,000 votes, which would be difficult for the opposition to secure.