‘Revolution of the polls’: Lebanon holds parliamentary elections | Election news

Voter turnout is expected to be higher this year, following a surge in diaspora voting last week.

beirut, lebanon – Lebanon holds parliamentary elections on Sunday as it recovers from an economic crisis that has pushed more than three-quarters of the population into poverty.

Some 3.9 million eligible voters will select their preferred representatives from 718 candidates spread across 103 lists in 15 districts and 27 sub-districts, an increase from 597 candidates and 77 lists in 2018.

The European Union sent 170 observers across the country to monitor election day proceedings.

Lebanon’s semi-democracy has a unique confessional power-sharing system. Its parliament consists of 128 divided evenly between the country’s Muslim and Christian denominations. Lebanon’s president is a Maronite Christian, its prime minister is a Sunni Muslim and the speaker of parliament is a Shia Muslim.

The country’s electoral law allocates seats proportionally on the basis of a two-vote system. Voters select a list of candidates running together, followed by a “preferred vote” for their favorite candidate from that list.

President Michel Aoun in a speech on Saturday urged citizens to vote in large numbers. “The polling revolution is the most honest,” Aoun said.

Voter turnout is expected to be higher this year, following a surge in diaspora voting last week.

Some 142,041 of the 244,442 registered expatriate voters went to the polls last week on May 6 and 8 in 48 countries, with a turnout of 63.05%, according to the Foreign Ministry. That was more than triple his turnout in Lebanon’s previous elections in 2018.

Lebanon’s voter turnout in 2018 was just under 50%.

After the 2019 uprising, this year’s election also includes many anti-establishment candidates representing new political groups and movements. In 2018, only former journalist Paula Yacoubian in Beirut won a seat.

While analysts predict that anti-establishment candidates will likely win additional seats, they believe the balance of power will remain the same.

Political supporters loyal to traditional parties threatened and attacked anti-establishment groups in several districts during the campaign.

However, Lebanon’s largest Sunni party, the Saudi-backed Future Movement, will not participate in the elections. Its leader, former prime minister Saad Hariri, left politics earlier this year, criticizing the growing power and influence of the Iran-backed Shi’ite movement Hezbollah.

Hariri left a significant political gap in key constituencies in Lebanon, and analysts said Al Jazeera Hezbollah’s allies may try to capitalize on that.

The Future Movement currently has two-thirds of the Sunni seats allocated in parliament.

A wide range of political groups and candidates swept across Sunni electorates to try to fill the void in Tripoli, Sidon and Beirut’s second district.

Many Hariri supporters called for a boycott of the elections.

INTERACTIVE: Lebanon Elections 2018: The Parliament

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