Turnout was calm in Tripoli on Sunday, as voters emerged to re-elect a Sunni deputy to the Lebanese Parliament.
Lebanon’s Constitutional Council annulled the election of Dima Jamali, of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement, two months ago. The council accepted the appeal of rival candidate Taha Naji against the May 2018 poll, and decided to re-run the vote.
Electoral observers expect Jamali to regain her seat, even though turnout has been low, failing to reach 6 percent until noon.
Young voter Najwa told Arab News that she would not vote “in protest against the city’s economic situation and also in protest against the political class that does not give importance to our worries.”
Future Movement official Mustafa Alloush told Arab News: “It is not expected for the turnout to exceed 10 percent — people are not looking forward to voting and many believe that there is no contest.
The competing candidates for the parliamentary seat are unconvincing to many.”
Eight candidates competed for the parliamentary seat, including Nizar Zakka, a current detainee in an Iranian prison for charges of espionage on behalf of the US, who announced his candidacy from prison in Tehran under the slogan “The Solution — Freedom for Lebanon.”
Many of Taha’s political allies, meanwhile, decided not to partake in protest at the decision of the council to re-run the election rather than declare their candidate the winner.
Interior Minister Raya Al-Hassan toured Tripoli during the buildup, and called on voters to use their “right to vote.” In a statement, she suggested that she did not mind who voters chose to back: “You can cast a blank vote. I am speaking as the Minister of Interior and not as a person affiliated with any party, and I am convinced that every person must participate in the elections.”
She added: “The turnout will definitely be different from previous years — there is no competitive battle, and a small number of voters.”
President Michel Aoun emphasized in a statement before the poll “The importance of providing the right atmosphere to complete the electoral process calmly, and providing all facilities for citizens to exercise their democratic right.”
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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