Lebanon's ruling pro-Western coalition appeared headed for a decisive political victory over its Iranian-backed Hezbollah rivals early Monday in the Middle East nation's most fiercely contested parliamentary election in decades.
Fireworks echoed through Beirut neighborhoods as unofficial results indicated that Hezbollah and its Christian allies were dealt a surprising setback at the polls.
With soldiers looking on, jubilant supporters of the ruling coalition poured into the streets, waving flags, honking car horns and chanting political slogans.
We "will return as the majority," Samir Geagea , head of the powerful Lebanese Forces party that is part of the pro-Western ruling coalition known as March 14 , told LBC television.
The victory keeps Hezbollah, and the coalition they lead, from taking power. Had Hezbollah won, they would have joined Hamas as two State Department state sponsors of terror that would also be duly elected leaders of parliaments in the Middle East.
The victory is of course welcome for all people that hope to see peace someday in the Middle East. It is, however, only a small step. The government of Lebanon has been rather impotent, corrupt, and ineffective. Struggling democracies are often derailed by all three, just look at the likes of Georgia and the Ukraine. So, now, victory must be followed up with good governance or the next election won't be quite so positive.