Beirut: A total of 16,535 out of the 30,930 Lebanese expat voters in nine Arab countries and Iran have cast their votes for the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Foreign Ministry announced.
The 53.46 per cent turnout in the 10 countries reflects their willingness to witness change in Lebanon, Xinhua news agency quoted Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi as saying.
Lebanese expats in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Iran cast their votes on Friday for parliamentary elections, before the rest of them living in 48 other countries will vote on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Lebanese at home will cast their ballots on May 15.
A total of 718 candidates, including 118 females, are running for the elections of the 128-seat Lebanese Parliament.
Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system allocates seats for its mosaic of religious sects in its Parliament, including Sunni and Shia Muslims, various Christian denominations, and the Druze.
The president must always be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni and the Speaker of Parliament a Shia.
Lebanon is in dire need to hold parliamentary elections, which is among the many conditions imposed by the international organisations and donor countries to extend support to the crisis-hit country.
The major financial crisis has plunged over 70 per cent of the country’s population into poverty, while the Lebanese currency has lost more than 90 per cent of its value since 2019.