Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The first legislative elections in Lebanon after almost a decade, in which half of registered voters have participated, are underway. Exit polls point to two potential winner: the pro-Iranian Shiite group Hezbollah and the Lebanese Forces (Fl), a Maronite democratic party.
According to estimates, participation stopped at 49.2% – five points lower compared to 54.08% in 2009. The lowest figure was recorded in the Christian district of Beirut I: 37.16%. Voters on the streets are split between feelings of hope, desire for change and scepticism. In one of Tripoli’s seats – reports Middle East Eyes – there were more activists than voters. There was no lack of tension, and episodes of violence in various areas of the country.
According to the first exit polls, Hezbollah affirms its hegemonic position also thanks to the alliance with the Amal movement: a result defined predictable by some observers, if you take into account the demographic data and the strategic support offered by Iran. In the election Hezbollah emphasized the confessional component. An example: in the south of the country, in Shaqra, the Shiite journalist Ali al-Amin wanted to present himself on a mixed list and was attacked by around 30 Hezbollah supporters. Al-Amin is still a candidate and has taken (so far) 2,500 votes with his allies.
On the Christian front, Samir Geagea’s Fl are close to doubling the number of their parliamentary seats (in the outgoing parliament they had 8 out of 128), with significant results in the strongholds of Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement (Cpl) such as Baabda, Metn or Kesrouan-Jbeil. Another Fl victory comes from Baalbek-Hermel, where the Christian group managed to break the blockade imposed by Hezbollah on Deir el-Ahmar in terms of representation. Despite having lost ground in some regions, the CPL can celebrate two major victories in the capital: Vice-President Nicolas Sehnaoui (Greek-Catholic) and Edgar Traboulsi (Protestant) are winners in Beirut and Beirut II. It is the first time for the party.
After an almost a rampant control that lasted since 2009, the Sunni Muslim block led by the party of Saad Hariri, defeated in the strongholds of Beirut II and Tripoli, loses ground. On the Druze side, Walid Jumblatt and his allies of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) have won 10 of the 13 seats up for grabs in the Choud-Aley district and the election of Wael Bou Faour in Rashaya, Abul Hadi Hosn in Baabda and Sayegh Fayçal in Beirut II is almost certain.