Lebanon's first national election in nine years could result in a stronger Hezbollah, preliminary results show, following an election marred by low voter turnout amid frustration over the country's endemic corruption problems.
Shia-militant group Hezbollah and its political allies were thought to be on course to win more than half of the seats in the Lebanese parliament, according to preliminary results cited by Beirut's media on Monday.
A simple parliamentary majority for the Iranian-backed party, which is seen as a terrorist group by the U.S. and an enemy of neighboring Israel, would likely embolden the political standing of Lebanon's Hezbollah group at a time of heightened regional uncertainty.
Israel has already reacted to the prospect of a stronger political position for Hezbollah with Naftali Bennett, education minister of Israel's conservative coalition government, tweeting on Monday that "Hezbollah = Lebanon."
"The State of Israel will not differentiate between the sovereign State of Lebanon and Hezbollah, and will view Lebanon as responsible for any action from within its territory," he added.