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Lebanese election a blow to Hezbollah

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Initial statements by March 14 leaders have struck a magnanimous tone, congratulating the opposition for a hard-fought race and expressing a readiness for cooperation and compromise.

While waiting for final results Sunday night, Walid Jumblatt, a March 14 leader and chief of Lebanon's Druze community, said that the opposition could not be sidelined from a future government.

"In case of a March 14 victory, we must not isolate the others," he said. "Beware of the deadly mistake of isolation."

The results of the election began to trickle through late on Sunday evening when it emerged that the March 14 bloc was gaining the upper hand in some of the key constituencies north of Beirut, in the southern town of Sidon, and in the Bekaa Valley, which were widely seen as the decisive battlegrounds in what has been the closest-fought election in over three decades.

As the results streamed in during the early hours Monday, fireworks exploded in the night sky above Beirut while motorcades of jubilant March 14 supporters drove up and down streets honking their horns.

Results reverberate in Riyadh, Tehran

The final results delivered early afternoon Monday confirmed March 14 was the winner with 71 seats in the 128-seat parliament, which included two allied independent candidates, against the opposition's 57 seats.

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