The AP reports:
BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s pro-Western coalition declared victory early Monday, as local television stations reported the faction had successfully fended off a serious challenge by the Shiite militant group Hezbollah and its allies to grab the majority in parliament.
Official results for Sunday’s election were not expected until later Monday, but the winners were already celebrating by shooting in the air, setting off fireworks and driving around in honking motorcades.
The election was an early test of President Barack Obama’s efforts to forge Middle East peace. A win by Hezbollah would have boosted the influence of its backers Iran and Syria and risked pushing one of the region’s most volatile nations into international isolation and possibly into more conflict with Israel.
“I present this victory to Lebanon,” Prime Minister Fuad Saniora said on television after stations projected his pro-Western coalition was winning. “It is an exceptional day for democracy in Lebanon.”