Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Monday, 8 June 2009 16:27 UK

Lebanese views: Poll reaction

Lebanese voters have given the country's pro-Western bloc a narrow victory over the Hezbollah-led opposition. Five BBC News website readers in Lebanon give their reaction to the results.

This selection voters does not aim to represent every religious grouping in Lebanon.

Ghada el-Yafi, 70, Beirut

Ghada el-Yafi

We hope for change but it hasn't arrived yet. I voted for the opposition. In Lebanon I have only one enemy, and that is Israel and everybody who is against Israel is my friend.

I don't like the way the government makes the rich richer. It is always the same few people who govern and who benefit from it. It is assumed that Sunni Muslims vote for Hariri, but I am not one of them.

Lebanon's confessional system [which gives different ethnic and religious groups a fixed number of seats in parliament] encourages candidates to campaign on religious divisions. And also to whip up fear of different groups.

We need to change the electoral system so people vote on issues like education, health and environment, rather than on their religious identity.

Because of Israel, we saw prominent American politicians in Lebanon before the election, to try to defeat Hezbollah. We saw lots of propaganda saying women would have to wear the chador if the opposition wins.

We need to change the constitution so the president is not chosen by Americans, or by Israelis or Syrians, but by Lebanese citizens.

Haytham Nasr, Beirut
Haytham Nasr

I voted 14 March and I am very happy with the results. In reality not much has changed, but at least now everyone can accept the result and move on.

More importantly, the election was calm, with very little violence. This is the first time all of Lebanon voted on the same day. So in that sense, it was an excellent result for democracy and all Lebanese people.

People were very worried that civil strife would break out if one side didn't accept the result. I was in Beirut during the street battles in May 2008. It was really a shocking experience.

I felt the opposition campaign, especially among Michel Aoun's Christian group, was divisive, appealing to sectarian divisions. The 14 March alliance was much more about bringing people together.

I also feel both sides understand they need to incorporate each other. Previously this was never the case. I'm now expecting the best and craziest summer that Lebanon's had for a very long time, we're going to see lots of tourists!

Dima, 17, Beirut

I can't vote yet, but my parents did. My father is from the south and they voted for the opposition, for Hezbollah.
Israel wanted March 14 to win, they supported them
It was the opposition who protected Lebanon and who takes care of people.

The other parties bought their voters. They flew people back from Australia, Canada, Europe, to vote. And they pay people inside Lebanon about a thousand dollars to vote.

I think the opposition does this too, but not quite so much. Some people have more money and can pay more. When thousands of people are suddenly arriving in the country, that's a lot of money.

I want to study medicine at university. I don't really care what government is in power, what's important is that it can protect its people. From Israel, yes, but also from everything else. There's no security here.

Nada al-Awar, Beirut

I am really thrilled with the results. Even before they came out it was momentous for Lebanon. It's the first time for a long time, that elections have been free and fair. More people participated than ever before.

I think people are realising their vote makes a difference and that's something not many people in the Middle East have.

We need to live together to make the world a better place. There's no way one group can control the country as a whole.

I voted for 14 March, not because they were the lesser of two evils but because they reflect much more the identity of Lebanon that I want.

A Lebanon that is democratic, open to the rest of the world, that is not isolated. That does not lead to conflict or tension with Syria or anyone else.

All the signs are that the parties now agree they do have to work together in a national unity government. It's not in anyone's interest for the violence of last May to be repeated.

Tammam Obeid, Kalamoun, northern Lebanon

The results were much better than expected. I voted for 14 March because I think they will be better for Lebanon's foreign relations and I hope they will do well on the economy.

I have been unemployed since finishing my computer engineering degree last year. And lots of people are like me. I think the government should do more to help poor people, too.

I think the voting system should be changed because it does not represent people. Some districts have 30,000 people, with just one representative, and others have three people representing 15,000 voters.

I am Sunni Muslim, but most of my friends are Maronites, Catholics, even Shia and Druze are my best friends.

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