News ID: 214502
Published: 0104 GMT May 05, 2018

Lebanon to vote in parliamentary elections

Lebanon to vote in parliamentary elections

The Lebanese gear up for the country's first parliamentary elections in nine years after several postponements over security concerns.

On Saturday, polling stations employees distributed thousands of ballot boxes, a day before more than 3.6 million registered Lebanese voters are set to cast their ballots.

There are more than 500 candidates running in 15 districts around the country for the 128-seat Parliament.

The vote is also the first since Lebanon adopted a new election law last year. The law changed the previous winner-takes-all system to a complicated sectarian-based proportional representation which awards the number of seats by the share of vote received.

The new system reduced the number of voting districts from 26 to 15. It also replaced the current plurality system with a system of proportional representation, increasing the sectarian diversity of lawmakers within each district.

Voters will practically select one list of allied candidates as well as one favorite candidate from the list as their preferential vote.

The percentage of votes a list receives will determine the number of its representatives in each electoral district. The Lawmakers will in turn be elected by the number of preferential votes they receive.

Lebanese citizens living abroad took part in the elections late last month. Official figures put the total number of registered Lebanese expatriate voters at 82,965 worldwide.

The last time elections were held in Lebanon was in 2009. Since then, members of Parliament have extended their terms twice, citing security threats linked to the conflict in neighboring Syria.

The current Lebanese Parliament contains more than 20 different political parties. Its biggest party is the Future Movement, led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The next parties are President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement and the Hezbollah resistance movement.

Most of the campaigning has revolved around platforms of stability and economic growth.

Hezbollah now seeks, along with its allies, to win at least 43 seats in the legislature.

Its leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, called for heavy voter turnout, particularly in the Baalbek-Hermel region in eastern Lebanon, traditionally a Hezbollah stronghold.

"You should protect with your votes your victories and achievements, for which you've paid a very high price," Nasrallah said in an appeal to supporters at an election rally in the area on Monday.

AP and Press TV contributed to this story.



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