Lebanon holds 1st general election in 9 years

06 May, 2018, 22:16 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Lebanon holds 1st general election in 9 years

Voting "is the right of every citizen, who has to practice this right", he said.

Though having enjoyed relative peace due to the delicate political balance reached among the Christians, Muslims and the Hezbollah since the 1975-1990 civil war, Lebanon has always been ruled by traditional powers including previous warlords and influential families.

Mr Aoun said he was "surprised with the low turnout" ahead of the dramatic increase late on.

Mohammed Merhi, 30, said he would not vote. When the votes are counted, parliamentary seats are distributed among the lists on a percentage basis - the more votes the list collects, the more candidates will be elected to parliament. Hezbollah's deputy secretary-general Naim Qassem had talks with Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk about an extension.

"We hope we will open a new era", said Mahmoud Daouk, voting in Beirut.

Lebanese went to 6,800 polling stations across the country Sunday to vote in the nation's first parliamentary election in nine years.

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Despite some acts of violence and intimidation connected to the election in recent weeks, no major incidents were reported in the immediate run-up to voting or during the first hours after polls opened.

Recall that in 2017 the Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad al-Hariri resigned out of fear for his life.

Samira Hejazi, a 70-year-old woman, told Xinhua that she voted for Hariri.

A Lebanese supporter of the Christian Lebanese Forces party drives a auto flying their flag along the Dbayeh highway between the coastal city of Jounieh and the capital Beirut.

According to the ministry 3,746,483 voters are to cast their ballots in 6793 polling stations across 15 districts.

Supporters of candidates running in Sunday's race were distributing boxed breakfasts at decked-out stands near polling stations.

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The capital is split into two voting districts, Beirut 1 and Beirut 2.

Extensions were given to those who were already waiting at voting centres when the clock hit 7pm.

"No one should underestimate the importance of their vote or think that heading down to the ballot box is too much to ask", he said.

The new election law is so complex that some say they would rather stay at home because they can't figure out how their vote will be computed.

Lebanon has long served as a battlefield for influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia, who have supported Shiite group Hezbollah and Sunni Muslim leader Hariri respectively, and their results will be closely monitored inside and outside of the country.

The Iranian-backed Shiite faction has thousands of fighters in Syria supporting President Bashar Al Assad, an intervention that is deeply divisive in Lebanon. "They are doing a great job for the country, I reiterate that this process is democratic and for the benefit of the country". But despite this, the results of the vote are unlikely to change the overall balance of power in the country. Hezbollah is expected to keep its 12 seats in parliament.

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The country has been wracked by political paralysis and the knock-on effects of the Syrian civil war since its last vote nine years prior. The number of seats in parliament is split between Christians and Muslims, and the president, prime minister, and speaker of the parliament must each come from a specific religious background.

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