Lebanese elect their representatives to parliament amid unprecedented economic collapse

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Lebanese will vote today to elect their representatives to parliament in an election likely to tip the balance in favor of traditional political forces that many blame for the economic collapse that has plagued the country for more than two years.

The elections are the first real test for opposition groups and young faces following unprecedented popular protests in October 2019, demanding the departure of the political class.

While the number of candidates opposing traditional parties has increased compared to the 2018 elections, not many people are counting on a change in the political landscape that would allow major problems to be tackled in a country of limited resources, outdated infrastructure and rampant corruption in its institutions .

Polling stations opened at 07:00 (0400 GMT) to more than 3.9 million eligible voters, more than half of whom were women, and closed at 19:00 (18:00 GMT), after which polling stations began counting. † The final results are likely to be announced the next day.

“It’s ironic that the first national election since the start of the crisis probably won’t make much of a difference,” said Sam Heller, a researcher at the Century Foundation.

“It is not likely to lead to a fundamental change in the composition of parliament or in the way policy is made in Lebanon,” he added.

The elections are taking place over the fallout from an economic collapse that has ranked the World Bank among the worst in the world since 1850. More than eighty percent of the population lives below the poverty line, the Lebanese pound has more than ninety percent of its value against the dollar, and the unemployment rate has reached about thirty percent.

It also comes about two years after the August 4, 2020 explosion, which destroyed much of Beirut, killed more than 200 people and injured more than 6,500 others. The explosion was caused by negligence and the storage of large quantities of hazardous materials, according to security and media reports, and the source is under investigation without any preventive measures.

The parliament consists of 128 deputies. The majority in the outgoing parliament belongs to Hezbollah and its allies, most notably the Free Patriotic Movement led by President Michel Aoun and the Amal Movement led by parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who has been in office since 1992.

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