International News

Lebanon goes to polls to elect new parliament in almost a decade

Voting has begun in Lebanon’s first parliamentary election in nine years, with over 500 candidates vying for 128 seats.
Polling stations opened at 7:00 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) on Sunday and will close at 7:00 p.m. local time (1600 GMT).
Official results are not expected until Monday or Tuesday, but early details may emerge on Sunday night.
The 128-parliamentary seats are split evenly – 64 for Christians and 64 for Muslims including Druze, with the two halves further divided among 11 religious groups.
Each of the 15 electoral districts has parliamentary seats apportioned according to its demographic make-up.
Tens of thousands of Lebanese nationals living abroad cast their votes last month.
Lebanon’s parliamentary elections were delayed three times since 2009 due to the crisis in neighboring Syria as well as disagreement over the country’s new electoral law.
In an interview with BBC Arabic TV on Saturday, President Michel Aoun underlined the importance of national unity and expressed hope that the new government would be formed soon.
“I hope that a new government will be formed quickly and according to the constitution. But if national unity is not preserved, the majority will take over, and the rest will become the opposition,” he said.