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New Lebanese leader promises open door to defeated opponents

Associated Press

BEIRUT, Lebanon – The son of Lebanon’s slain former prime minister, whose anti-Syrian slate swept to victory in the final round of Lebanon’s parliamentary elections, reached out Monday to his defeated opponents with promises that he would not “close the door on anyone.”

The anti-Syrian opposition led by Saad Hariri captured control of Lebanon’s parliament Monday in the fourth and final round of the country’s elections, breaking Syria’s long domination of the country.

Interior Minister Hassan Sabei declared anti-Syrian opposition candidates had won all 28 seats in north Lebanon in Sunday’s polling.

“The north has decided the character of the new parliament and given the absolute majority to the opposition,” Hariri said.

Anticipating victory, men, women and children waved flags and danced in the streets of Tripoli, the provincial capital of the north, earlier Monday. In Beirut, the national capital, opposition supporters drove through the city, cheering and honking in celebration.

Asked whether he would seek the premiership, 35-year-old Hariri said he would consult his allies. Hariri, the son of the assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, also said he would negotiate with other parliamentary blocs to broaden his alliance.

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