Lebanese voters elect new parliament

07 May, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Diane Mills
  • Lebanese voters elect new parliament

Lebanon held a parliamentary election Sunday - its first in almost a decade. Security forces stood sentry on street corners and near the polling booths.

President Michel Aoun's position is not up for renewal but his Christian party is a key player in the vote, for which a reformed, more proportional electoral law is in force. "If you want change, you should exercise your right" to vote, he said in a message published on Twitter at the same time. The war has divided the country, pitting parties supporting the Iran-sponsored Hezbollah's intervention in Syria to aide President Bashar Assad against Saudi-aligned parties opposed to it.

In total, 586 registered candidates are running for 128 seats in the Parliament.

"These leaders are destroying properties, not constructing them", stated Ahmad Khashouq, 43, a non-public safety guard in Beirut.

Last time parliamentary elections were conducted in Lebanon nine years ago.

There is a record number of women and non-party candidates running in the elections, even though the lion's share of seats is expected to be gained by representatives of the six main political parties.

The ballot stations are opened in all the regions of the state. In the Choueifat district, a crowd inside a station accused the station supervisor of illegal voting practices and smashed a ballot box, spilling its contents across the floor. The military ordered the media to show off their cameras.

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

Sarah Brjawi, 33, said she was voting for Nouhad Yazbek, a woman candidate running on a coalition list of political independents and activists running in Beirut.

"It's the first time I vote", Therese, 60, told AFP outside a voting centre in central Beirut.

"This nation is de facto bipolar", stated Brjawi.

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Analysts are closely watching the performance of Sunni Muslim Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's Future Movement party and that of the Iran-backed, Shi'ite Hezbollah group and its allies.

"This reveals Lebanon's democracy and the significance of democracy". Official results are not expected before Monday.

TRT World's Abubakr Al Shamahi has more from a polling station in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut.

"We're human beings. It isn't truthful that now we have to be carried like luggage of potatoes", the girl, Silvana Lakkis, stated. "At least we know the current MPs", he said. The Prime Minister and competent ministries are following up on the process.

"After we see what is going on in global locations round us and Lebanon is holding democratic elections, this reveals that Lebanon is ok", Hariri stated after ready in line round 20 minutes to solid his poll. "Order is nice", he quipped.

Television broadcasts showed people queuing at polling stations across the tiny Mediterranean country to cast their votes under new electoral rules. They wore yellow shirts with the slogan "We protect and build" written on them.

"We love the resistance", stated Amira Sidani, an 85-year-old lady, after casting her poll.

The election is being held under a new proportional system that has confused some voters and made the contest unpredictable in formerly safe seats But it still preserves a sectarian power-sharing system and another coalition government including most of the major parties, like the one that has governed since 2016, looks likely, analysts say. Voters will select one checklist of allied candidates, in addition to a most popular candidate from amongst them. In the past, the winning list took all the seats in the electoral district.

A Lebanese woman casts a ballot at a polling station during the Lebanon's parliamentary elections in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. Wary of voters' apathy toward a vote unlikely to change much, he urged people to turn out in large numbers.

Mohammed Ali, 30, driving his scooter to the seashore, stated he isn't voting as a result of there aren't any decisions.

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