BEIRUT, May 16 (Reuters) - Iran-backed Hezbollah has been dealt a blow in Lebanon's parliamentary election with preliminary results showing losses for some of its oldest allies and the Saudi-aligned Lebanese Forces party saying it had gained seats.
With votes still being counted, the final make-up of the 128-member parliament has yet to emerge. The heavily armed Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah and its allies won a majority of 71 seats when Lebanon last voted in 2018.
The current election is the first since Lebanon's devastating economic meltdown blamed by the World Bank on ruling politicians after a huge port explosion in 2020 that shattered Beirut.
One of the most startling upsets saw Hezbollah-allied Druze politician Talal Arslan, scion of one of Lebanon's oldest political dynasties who was first elected in 1992, lose his seat to Mark Daou, a newcomer running on a reform agenda, according to the latter's campaign manager and a Hezbollah official.
nitial results also indicated wins for at least five other independents who have campaigned on a platform of reform and bringing to account politicians blamed for steering Lebanon into the worst crisis since its 1975-90 civil war.
Whether Hezbollah and its allies can cling on to a majority hinges on results not yet finalised, including those in Sunni Muslim seats contested by allies and opponents of the Shi'ite movement.