Elections on 15 April 2022 in Lebanon resulted in Iran-backed Shia Muslim Hezbollah and its allies losing their majority in parliament. BBC News reported on 16 May 2022: “Hezbollah retained its own seats, but President Michel Aoun’s Christian Free Patriotic Movement lost support.” A Christian party called ‘The Lebanese Forces’ (LF), which has close ties with Saudi Arabia, gained a number of new seats, as did independent reformist candidates. The LF is now the biggest Christian party in parliament. However, there is no clear overall winner, so the chance of significant change is small.
World Watch Research analyst Henriette Kats comments: “There is great hope among reform activists that the gains made by candidates from outside the traditional political establishment will lead to a change in Lebanese politics. Although such hopes are understandable, there is little chance that any profound change in politics can take place: Corruption is deep-seated and the elections have once again shown the high level of political division within the country. Hezbollah barely lost any seats, but since their allies did, the Shia movement no longer has a majority in parliament. However, they still hold most seats, with anti-Hezbollah parties holding the next largest number. Parties and candidates committed to political change received far fewer votes.”
Henriette Kats continues: “The election result points to a potentially long negotiation process before a new government can be formed. But such delay is something the country needs to avoid at all costs with its skyrocketing inflation – hitting an all-time high of 239.69% in January 2022 (according to Trading Economics, accessed 20 May 2022). In addition, about 75% of the population are on the poverty line and three out of ten are unemployed, many of them Christians. Any newly formed government will also have to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund, which has attached reform conditions to its financial rescue package for the country.”
Henriette Kats adds: “Despite such enormous economic and political challenges, the election results have made many evangelical Christians in Lebanon more hopeful than before that things will get better (Christianity Today, 19 May 2022).”