The leader of Lebanon's Shia group Hezbollah has acknowledged his party and its allies had lost their parliamentary majority in elections but said no single group had taken it, in his first televised speech since Sunday's election
"Unlike the situation in parliament in 2018, no political group can claim a majority," Hassan Nasrallah said on Wednesday.
Hezbollah and its allies scored 62 seats during Sunday polls, according to a Reuters news agency tally, losing a majority they secured in 2018 when they and their allies won 71 seats.
Hezbollah and its ally Amal held on to all of parliament's Shia seats. But some of its oldest allies, including Sunni, Druze and Christian politicians, lost theirs.
The elections saw gains by the anti-Hezbollah Lebanese Forces party and more than a dozen reform-minded newcomers, as well as a smattering of independents.
Nasrallah warns of 'chaos'
The results mark a blow for Hezbollah, though Nasrallah declared the results "a very big victory."
Nasrallah called for "cooperation" between political groups including newcomers, saying the alternative would be "chaos and vacuum."
The results have left parliament split into several camps, none of which have a majority, raising the prospect of political paralysis and tensions that could delay badly needed reforms to steer Lebanon out of its economic collapse.
"We are facing political blocs and independents," he noted after non-aligned candidates capitalised on discontent arising from the economic crisis and repeated failures by the ruling elite to agree on a recovery plan.
Backed by Iran, Hezbollah is a major political and military force, described by its supporters as a bulwark against its enemy Israel, and by its detractors, as a state within a state whose continued existence prevents any kind of democratic change in Lebanon.
Considered a "terrorist" organisation by many Western countries, it is the only organisation to have kept its weapons following the 1975-1990 civil war.