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Lebanon Elections 2022: Lebanese Cast Ballots for New Parliament Amid Economic Crisis

Lebanon Elections 2022: Lebanese Cast Ballots for New Parliament Amid Economic Crisis
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By Staff, Agencies

The Lebanese people started voting this morning in key parliamentary elections, which many hope can set the stage for a recovery from economic woes fueled by US-led sanctions on the country.

Polling stations opened at 7:00 a.m. local time across 15 electoral districts on Sunday, with nearly four million people eligible to vote and 718 candidates competing to win 128 parliamentary seats.

The vote comes as the country has been rocked by an economic meltdown that the World Bank has blamed on the ruling class and the 2020 devastating port blast in the capital, Beirut.

The economic crisis, which began in 2019, led to a currency collapse of some 95 percent and the plunging of more than 80 percent of the Lebanese population into poverty.

Lebanon’s parliament is equally divided between Christians and Muslims.

The last vote in 2018 saw Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement and its allies, the Christian Free Patriotic Movement [FPM] of President Michel Aoun and the Shia Amal party of Speaker Nabih Berri, secure a majority by winning 71 of the parliament's seats.

The absence of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has left a vacuum for Sunni votes, which both Hezbollah allies and opponents are seeking to fill.

Hezbollah has said it expects few changes to the make-up of the current parliament, though its opponents, including the Saudi-aligned Lebanese Forces party, say they are hoping to scoop up seats from the FPM.

The economic and financial crisis in Lebanon is mostly linked to the sanctions that the United States and its allies have imposed on the country as well as foreign intervention in the Arab nation’s domestic affairs.

The final results of the parliamentary elections in Lebanon are expected to be announced on Monday, with the new legislature set to elect a new president after Aoun’s term ends in October.