Almost 1.5 million Lebanese go to the polls on Sunday in the second round of parliamentary elections to choose 65 MPs from three different districts, the capital Beirut, the Bekaa Valley, and the liberated south.
The third parliamentary vote to take place since civil war ended ten years ago, the elections have raised a lot of heated reactions, with charges even before the first round on August 27th that voting was rigged and that there was too much Syrian influence on the elections. Syria who has controlled Lebanon since the end of the civil war has been accused of being directly involved in the voting process. Although Syrian President Bashar Assad said that he wanted fair and impartial elections, more accusations were heard when Walid Jumblatt, leader of the minority Druze community, and a fierce critic of the current government, swept the board in his constituency, with all eight members of his electoral list elected in the first round.
The heated political arena will continue in Sunday’s elections with Hizbollah, the Islamic movement expecting to see an electoral push. But the sure-fire winner seems to be billionaire Rafik Al-Harriri who has been the only candidate to form lists in all three districts. So far he has spent $50 million on his campaign, and has taken a very firm stand by making statements like “total victory” and “there will be no partial victory…let the voters have their say.” This larger than life image is one of the main reasons for the strained relations with the country’s Syrian-sponsored president, Emile Lahoud. If Harriri wins the elections the country will be all eyes to see how fair and impartial President Assad will be – Albawaba.com
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