First Published: 2009-11-20

Nasrallah re-elected as head of Hezbollah

Powerful Lebanese party adopts new manifesto which it will announce in coming days.


Middle East Online

Nasrallah, 49, has headed Hezbollah since 1992

BEIRUT - Hassan Nasrallah was re-elected head of Hezbollah on Thursday following a congress that also adopted a new manifesto, which is to be revealed in coming days, the powerful party announced.

Nasrallah, 49, has headed Hezbollah since 1992 when his predecessor, Abbas Moussaoui, was assassinated in an Israeli helicopter raid.

A statement by the party, created in 1982, said Nasrallah would explain the contents of the manifesto at a press conference to be announced soon.

The Hezbollah leader has kept a low public profile to escape illegal Israeli assassination attempts since 2006. His last press conference was held via video link.

The Thursday statement said the new political document adopted at the party congress endorsed modifications in line with changes that have taken place within the party in recent years.

The group has two ministers in the new government formed earlier this month.

The winning alliance headed by Saad Hariri won 71 seats in the 128-member parliament in the election against 57 for the opposition led by Hezbollah.

The Hezbollah opposition had actually secured the majority (52%) of the votes in Lebanon, but could not secure a majority of Parliamentary seats (it won 45%) because of the nature of the sectarian government system in the country.

Hezbollah is the only party that has refused to surrender its weapons following Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war on grounds that its arsenal is needed to defend the country against Israeli aggression.

Israel waged a bloody 34-day war on Lebanon in the summer of 2006 after Hezbollah fighters seized two Israeli soldiers in a deadly cross-border raid that aimed to free Lebanese soldiers from Israeli prisons. The bodies of the soldiers were returned in a prisoner swap.

The war claimed the lives of more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, most of them civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, most of them soldiers.

Hezbollah, originally a resistance group formed to counter an Israeli occupation of south Lebanon, had forced the Israeli military out of Lebanon in 2000. Israel, however, continues to occupy the Lebanese Shabaa Farms.

Israeli flights over Lebanon occur on an almost daily basis and are in breach of UN Security Council resolution 1710, which in August 2006 ended the war.


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