Lebanon holds first vote since blast, financial collapse

Polls opened on Sunday in Lebanon’s first election since the country’s economic collapse, a test of whether Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies can preserve their parliamentary majority amid soaring poverty and anger at ruling parties, Trend reports citing
Reuters.

Following months of uncertainty over whether the election would go ahead, polls opened at 7 am (0400 GMT) across 15 electoral districts.

Since Lebanon’s last election in 2018, the country has been rocked by an economic meltdown that the World Bank has blamed on the ruling class, and Beirut was shattered by a massive explosion at the port in 2020.

While analysts believe public anger could help reform-minded candidates win some seats, expectations are low for a big shake-up in a sectarian system which is skewed in favor of established parties.

The 2018 vote saw the heavily armed Shi’ite movement Hezbollah and its allies – including President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), a Christian party – win 71 out of parliament’s 128 seats.

Those results pulled Lebanon deeper into the orbit of Shi’ite Muslim-led Iran, marking a blow to the influence of Sunni Muslim-led Saudi Arabia.


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