Residents of the former Israeli-occupied zone in southern Lebanon are getting their say in national politics for the first time in nearly three decades, and there's little doubt who many want to put into parliament: the resistance who helped push Israel out, mainly Hizbollah, according to The Associated Press.
Parliamentary elections, with voting in southern Lebanon on Sunday following balloting elsewhere in the country the week before, also raise hopes for restoring public services and launching development projects in a long-neglected region, said the agency.
The resistance “sacrificed their lives and blood to liberate the country,” and deserve his vote, said Hussein Mansour, a 53-year-old taxi driver from the town of Khiam, four miles north of the Israeli border.
The last parliamentary elections in the border areas were held in 1972. There were no elections in Lebanon as a whole during the 1975-90 civil war, and parliamentary polls in 1992 and 1996 did not include the border areas because of the presence of Israeli troops.
Residents of southern Lebanon were eligible to vote but only outside the occupied zone, and few bothered to travel because of Israeli restrictions, said the AP.
Israeli troops vacated the area on May 24th after 18 years of occupation.
“I will vote for the resistance which liberated south Lebanon from Israeli occupation,” said Fawzieh Ali Haithem, a 60-year-old veiled woman from Khiam.
Fawaz Diba, who works in a restaurant in the Christian town of Marjayoun that was the command headquarters of former Israeli-allied militiamen, said he will “definitely” vote - something he has not done since 1972.
On Sunday, 209 candidates will contest 65 in the south, Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley. The remaining 63 were decided earlier this week in North and Mount Lebanon provinces – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )