Lebanese Begin Voting in Parliamentary Elections
Lebanese voters living in the north of the country and the central area of Mount Lebanon overlooking the capital Beirut began voting Sunday in the general elections parliamentary.
The rest of the country goes to the polls on September 3rd.
Sunday's polling involved around 1.3 million voters, with 286 candidates running for 63 seats in parliament.
Polling stations were to remain open until 6.00 p.m. (1500 GMT).
The Lebanese army, in charge of security for the poll, had mobilized some 10,000 troops with heavy weapons since Saturday evening. They were backed up by another 7,000 paramilitary police at polling stations.
For the first time, voters have to have collected their voter registration card in order to take part. Authorities have not indicated how many voters have collected their cards.
But one candidate in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, Ahmad Karame, told AFP he expected the turnout would not be very high because in Tripoli, where traditionally voters turn out in force, only 50 percent of the electorate had collected their cards.
Opposition political parties and prominent political figures have criticized what they say is interference by both Lebanese and foreign intelligence services, notably those of Syria, in the elections -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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