Mired in crises, Lebanese vote in parliamentary elections

Beirut: Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese flocked to polling stations across the country to vote in the parliamentary elections amid a severe economic crisis.

The Internal Security Forces were deployed outside and inside polling stations on Sunday to ensure the safety of elections and voters, while the Lebanese army took over security in the vicinity of polling centres, Xinhua news agency reported.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and House Speaker Nabih Berri casted their votes early Sunday morning in their relevant districts.

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Aoun urged the Lebanese to vote in abundance, saying that “citizens cannot be impartial when it comes to fundamental issues related to choosing the system of governance in the country”.

The elections are held to elect a new parliament for a term of four years with the participation of 718 candidates, including 118 female candidates, competing for 128 seats.

The electoral process takes place under a judicial supervision, with the number of eligible voters reaching about 3.9 million, including 225,000 Lebanese expatriates who voted last week, according to the Lebanese Interior Ministry.

The elections are held under the supervision of the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, the European Union Election Observation Mission, the League of Arab States and the International Organisation of La Francophonie to ensure the transparency of the elections upon Lebanon’s request.

The Lebanese elections come amid the worst financial crisis in the country’s history in light of the collapse of the local currency, the increase in poverty, unemployment and inflation in addition to scarcity in basic commodities, including fuel and medicines.

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