Published: Tue, May 08, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Parliamentary elections in Lebanon: Hizballah expects to win

Parliamentary elections in Lebanon: Hizballah expects to win

Turnout was 49.2%, down from 54% the last time legislative elections were held nine years ago.

A man casts his vote at a polling station during the parliamentary election, in Sidon, Lebanon.

President Michel Aoun broadcast an appeal to voters to participate in a televised address an hour before polls closed in the evening. I would like to tell you that I am satisfied with the results.

Early results were expected to start coming in late Sunday, but official results were not expected to be announced before Monday.

The self-confessed atheist running for a Christian seat and her supporters cried foul play, with hundreds of protesters convening outside the interior ministry calling for transparency. They feared that the elections will lead to sharp destabilization of the situation.

SECURITY PRESENCE After the last election in 2009, the onset of Syria's civil war, the arrival of over a million refugees and a series of militant attacks aggravated internal political rifts.

As many as 976 candidates competed for the 128 seats in parliament, which are distributed according to the ethnic-confessional principle between 11 groups. "Party of Allah" declared himself a fighter against terrorism in the middle East and accused Israel of supporting extremist forces in the region.

The initial results, which were carried by Lebanese media and are more or less expected to match the official count, show that Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a Sunni politician with close ties to Saudi Arabia, has lost at least five seats in Beirut, once considered his party's stronghold.

Despite pre-poll hopes that a civil society movement could break through into Lebanese politics, only one candidate was thought to have been elected.

"This means that I voted, and I'm happy that I voted and took part in change", said Guy Farah, a 36-year-old salesman showing the ink stain on his thumb as he walked out of a Beirut polling station.

"This country is really bipolar", said Brjawi.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri acknowledged Monday that his parliamentary bloc lost seats in this week's elections, blaming it on a new electoral law and a performance "that wasn't up to the standard".

"This shows Lebanon's democracy and the importance of democracy".

While returning many of Lebanon's power brokers to office, the elections also brought in new faces. "Lebanon is a great country, and Lebanese people are very good people", she said. "Order is nice", he quipped.

While this election was not expected to rock the balance of power between the country's established parties, the prospect of a low turnout boosted the chances of independents winning seats. They wore yellow shirts with the slogan "We protect and build" written on them. "At least we know the current MPs", he said.

The drop came despite a reformulated electoral law created to encourage voting through proportional representation.

Mohammed Ali, 30, riding his scooter to the beach, said he was not voting because there are no choices.

Lamenting the tepid turnout, he said "whoever didn't vote can not object to what happens in the future". Lebanese who support opposing sides in the war have clashed on a number of occasions, and Sunni extremists have carried out several bombings. Parliament seats are divided evenly between Muslims and Christians, and further subdivided among their various sects.

Rival blocs in parliament could not agree on a new president between 2014-16 and repeatedly made a decision to delay elections, partly because of disagreement over moving from a winner-takes-all to a proportional voting system.

The AP report also added that the new government would likely include Hariri's opponents from the Hezbollah group.

The vote came a week after Lebanese living oversees voted in 39 countries around the world. But many, including Machnouk, blamed the new, complex law which redrew constituency districts for the tepid turnout particularly in Beirut.

Like this: