Pro-West Bloc Claims Victory in Lebanon
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2009 7:10 PM CDT
Lebanese leader of the pro-Western coalition Saad Hariri, left, hugs candidate Nohad Mashnouk in Beirut, Lebanon, early Monday, June 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Dalati Nohra, HO)
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(Newser) – Lebanon's pro-Western coalition claimed victory a parliamentary election today, striking a blow against Iran and Syria, Reuters reports. "Congratulations to democracy, congratulations to freedom," coalition leader Saad al-Hariri said in a speech in Beirut. Official results are due tomorrow, but the Hezbollah led-bloc is already admitting defeat. "We accept the result as the will of the people," said one lawmaker on the losing side.

Voters turned out at historic highs to ensure that the so-called "March 14 coalition" kept control of the 128-seat parliament. The alliance came into power 4 years ago, when massive crowds rallied amid accusations that Syria had assassinated former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Syria soon ended its 29-year military presence in Lebanon but denied involvement in the fatal car bombing, the BBC reports.