Lebanon: Polling stations closed with high voter turnout
Polling stations were closed at 7:00 pm Sunday with an estimated voter turnout of over 50%. Lebanon's Interior Minister Ziad Baroud stated that preliminary rate indicated 52.35% of voter turnout, 20% up compared to the 2005 elections. "The 2005 election reached 45.8 percent," Baroud said, according to Naharnet.
The highest turnout was in Kesrouan district at 70%. Turnout was at 65% in Metn and Jbeil, 60% in Batroun and 63% in Akkar, Baroud conveyed.
The race is expected to be close. In the outgoing parliament, the coalition bloc had 70 seats and Hizbullah led opposition had 58. The high voter turnout is expected to help the opposition camp.
There were widespread complaints about delays in the process, forcing voters to stand hours in lines. Baroud asked people to be patient. According to him, he was happy with the way polling had proceeded.
The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections, which had 2,200 observers monitoring the vote, said there were no flagrant violations.