BEIRUT, Lebanon — A car bomb has killed an anti-Syrian politician in Beirut, a day after opposition leader Saad Hariri’s camp won Lebanon’s parliamentary elections.
George Hawi, former secretary general of the Lebanese Community Party, died instantly in Tuesday’s blast, police said. It was the second slaying of an anti-Syrian figure this month.
Hawi had actively campaigned for opposition alliance candidate Elias Atallah, a co-founder of the left-leaning Lebanese Democratic Movement, according to sources close to Hawi’s family, CNN’s Beirut Bureau Chief Brent Sadler reported.
That movement was heavily influenced by prominent anti-Syrian journalist Samir Kassir, who was killed June 2 during the election period.
Kassir died when a bomb apparently planted in his car exploded. He was a columnist for the Lebanese daily newspaper An Nahar, a publication often critical of Syrian influence in Lebanon.
Police said Tuesday’s bombing was similar to the one that killed Kassir.
Tuesday’s bombing “will be seen here in light of what happened during the weekend, when the opposition won an outright victory, giving them an outright majority in parliament,” Sadler said.
Hawi, a Christian, frequently spoke out against Syrian intelligence and interference in Lebanese affairs, The Associated Press reported.
Hawi was related to an Armenian candidate who was standing for parliament in the national elections that finished on Sunday, Sadler said.
The bombing, which authorities said occurred about 10 a.m. (3 a.m. ET) in a western Beirut neighborhood, left Hawi’s black Mercedes crumpled.
Witnesses and security sources said the car had just left a gas station and was traveling on a road when the bomb exploded.
Hawi’s driver escaped with only minor injuries; police sources said the bomb apparently targeted Hawi, who was in the passenger seat.
“We are stunned,” said Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who visited the blast site. “With every achievement by the Lebanese state, we see there are those who want to target security and send messages of this sort.”
On Monday, opposition leader Hariri said his anti-Syrian camp had emerged as the winner in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections.
“The elections are behind us and we don’t see anything in front of us but the future of Lebanon,” said Hariri, who became a candidate after his father, Rafik, was assassinated.
Interior Minister Hassan Al Sabaa, speaking on national television, said 72 of the 128 seats will be allocated to Hariri’s Future Movement, an alliance that includes Walid Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party, Lebanese Forces and Qurnet Shahwan.
Another 25 seats will go to Amal (Nabih Berri) and Hezbollah; and 21 seats will go to an alliance of the Free Patriotic Movement, Skaff, Franjieh and Tashnak, the minister said.
“This victory is to be given as a present to the soul of the martyr Rafik Hariri,” the son told reporters a day after the fourth and final voting took place, in the country’s north.
The four elections, spread out over four weeks, marked the first vote since the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanese territory.