Final round of Lebanon elections begins
Candidates for Lebanon's parliament wrapped up last-minute campaigning Saturday, a day before the final round of elections that will decide whether the opposition can end Syria's three-decade domination of the political landscape.
The staggered parliamentary elections over four weeks in different regions are the first to be free of Syrian presence since Damascus deployed forces to Lebanon in 1976 in support of the Christians in the country's civil war. Damascus' withdrew its last troops in April.
With 100 legislators picked in three previous rounds, the remaining 28 parliament seats being decided Sunday in northern Lebanon have become the most prized of this election. The vote carries symbolic weight as well since the region borders Syria and has been home to some of Damascus' strongest allies.
The main opposition alliance - led by the son of the assassinated ex-premier Rafiq Al-Hariri - needs to win 21 of the 28 seats Sunday to gain control of the legislature after surprise losses in earlier rounds to former Gen. Michel Aoun, a one-time ally to the anti-Syrian opposition.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)