LONDON: The US on Friday welcomed that parliamentary elections in Lebanon were held on time and without major security incidents, but urged the country's leaders to quickly form a government to resolve the ongoing economic crisis.
Last weekend’s elections led to Hezbollah and its allies losing a parliamentary majority.
“We congratulate the Lebanese people on their participation despite challenging circumstances, we also recognize the important role the Lebanese Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces played in supporting the process and maintaining security,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price said.
“As Lebanon looks ahead, we urge those elected and the country’s political leaders to heed the Lebanese people’s call for change and to work seriously, and with urgency, to take the necessary actions to rescue the economy,” he added.
Price said the US was urging the swift formation of a new government able to carry out the “hard work required to restore the confidence of the Lebanese people and the international community.”
After videos surfaced reportedly showing Hezbollah supporters swapping vote ballots, ripping up others and ransacking voting booths in Baalbek, Price voiced the US’ worries.
“We share the concerns raised by our partners in the international community of allegations of vote-buying, clientelism, and reports of intimidation,” he said.
Lebanon’s cabinet on Friday passed an economic recovery plan designed to pull the country out of a three-year financial meltdown.
Ministers agreed the measure in the cabinet’s final session just before losing decision-making powers, following the election, that is set to designate a new prime minister.
The World Bank has called Lebanon’s financial crisis is one of the worst the world has seen in over 150 years.