Both the White House and State Department congratulated the Lebanese people for carrying out a peaceful election.
senior official who spoke here on terms of anonymity went further,
welcoming what he said was an "unambiguous" victory by the March 14
movement and expressing hope that Hezbollah will accept the results and
operate within the political system.
pre-election forecasts that the Hezbollah-led opposition might gain
seats, the pro-Western March 14 coalition won 71 of the 128 seats in
parliament -- picking up one seat -- while the Syrian- and
Iranian-backed opposition alliance led by Hezbollah won 57.
a written statement, President Barack Obama said the Lebanese people
had once more demonstrated to the world their courage and the strength
of their commitment to democracy.
Department Spokesman Ian Kelly called the election a critical step
toward Lebanon's rightful achievement of true independence and
sovereignty, and said the United States will continue to support a
sovereign and independent Lebanon.
the voting over, the process of forming a government a developing a
government program now begins. That is a process for the Lebanese to
carry out in accordance with the election results and without outside
interference," he said. "We look forward to working with the next
government and hope it will continue along the path toward building a
sovereign and stable Lebanon that is committed to peace, including full
implementation of all United Nations resolutions," Kelly added.
14 coalition leader Saad al-Hariri has said he will invite Hezbollah to
form a national unity government, but that he will not give the group
enough cabinet posts to give it the veto power it holds in the current
senior State Department official here said Hezbollah had made excessive
use of its blocking minority since 2005 to hamstring the government,
even on relatively mundane domestic issues.
said Hezbollah now faces a different reality, with voters having handed
the governing coalition a clear majority, although not a landslide
said the outcome was an affirmation that most Lebanese want to see the
state in control of all the country's territory and that it undermines
Hezbollah's argument that it should be both a political party and an
United States has long listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization for
its role in 1980's attacks on U.S. troops and facilities in Lebanon,
and other violent acts.
senior official said the United States would be "happy" to reconsider
its position on Hezbollah -- if it were to lay aside its weapons and
become "just a normal political party" in Lebanon.