Lebanese cast ballots in 2nd round of municipal polls

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) A Lebanese woman shows her ink-marked thumb after casting her ballot at a polling station in Hadath Christian area east of Beirut, Lebanon, 15 May 2016. EPA/NABIL MOUNZER

By Hamza Takeen

BEIRUT: Polls opened in the Mount Lebanon region on Sunday for the second phase of the country’s municipal and mayoral elections -- Lebanon’s first such vote in six years.

Approximately 834,000 voters are registered to cast ballots in the second round, which is being held amid tight security measures.

Sunday’s poll comes one week after a first round of voting was held in capital Beirut and two provinces of Lebanon’s Bekaa region.

An electoral list backed by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri claimed to have swept the first-round vote.

Two other voting rounds are slated to take place in other parts of the country in coming weeks.

Lebanon has been without a president since 2014, when President Michel Suleiman’s term in office ran out.

The country’s last municipal election was held in 2010; its last parliamentary poll was held one year earlier.

The Lebanese authorities cite security concerns and the ongoing war in neighboring Syria as reasons for delaying the vote.

Lebanon’s current political scene is deeply polarized between the Shia Hezbollah movement, which is backed by Iran, and Hariri’s Future Bloc, which is backed by Saudi Arabia.


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