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Washington Urges Lebanon to Swiftly Form New Government

Washington Urges Lebanon to Swiftly Form New Government

Saturday, 21 May, 2022 - 07:15
US State Department spokesperson Ned Price. Reuters file photo

The United States on Friday welcomed that parliamentary elections in Lebanon were held on time and without major security incidents, calling on the political class to swiftly form a new government capable of rescuing the economy and restoring the confidence of the Lebanese people and the international community.

“We urge the swift formation of a government capable of and committed to undertaking the hard work required to restore the confidence of the Lebanese people and the international community,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

Washington also urged those elected and the country’s political leaders to heed the Lebanese people’s call for change and to work seriously, and with urgency, to take the necessary actions to rescue the economy.

Price said Washington congratulated the Lebanese people on their participation despite challenging circumstances, also recognizing the important role the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces played in supporting the process and maintaining security.

The spokesperson added that his country shares the concerns raised by the US partners in the international community of allegations of vote-buying, clientelism, and reports of intimidation.

Moreover, the International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG) welcomed “the timely conduct of the parliamentary elections on 15 May,” a statement by ISG said.

“The ISG expresses its appreciation for the professionalism, hard work, and dedication of the Lebanese civil servants involved in the electoral process; and commends the security forces for maintaining public order during its conduct,” it added.

“The ISG is encouraged by the Lebanese people’s civic participation in these elections in Lebanon and abroad, which was an opportunity for them to articulate their aspirations and to have their voices heard; they deserve that.”

Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies have lost their majority in Lebanon's parliament in a general election, a major blow to the armed group that reflects anger with Lebanon's ruling elite.

The Shiite party and factions that support its possession of arms won around 62 of parliament's 128 seats in Sunday's election, a reversal of the 2018 result when they secured a majority of 71.

This is the first election since Lebanon's economic collapse and the Beirut port explosion of 2020, which killed more than 200 people and devastated swathes of the city after a fire triggered the detonation of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored unsafely in a warehouse for almost six years.

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