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A woman shows her ink-stained thumb after casting her vote at a polling station in Beirut on May 8, 2016 ©Anwar Amro (AFP)
A woman shows her ink-stained thumb after casting her vote at a polling station in Beirut on May 8, 2016 ©Anwar Amro (AFP)

The Lebanese governorates of Beirut and Bekaa Valley are holding municipal elections on Sunday. The polls are a true challenge for the political and security authorities, given that the last municipal elections took place six years ago.

Beirut, capital city of Lebanon and the electoral battle arena, is now flurried by the brushes between civil society and the authority assembled roster. Meanwhile in Baalback, social disputes rise in a political fashion, so much that city-civilian families and the so-called Hezbollah clash over the list of candidates led by the Lebanese attorney Ghaleb Yaghi.

Awaiting results, general director of Lebanon Statistics Rabih al Habr expected a true electoral battle in Beirut if there is a high turnout. In his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, he also mentioned the possibility of the “Beirut Madinati” campaign winning over the “Beirutis’ List” campaign at a 35 percent on participation. “Beirut Madinati” is expected to win against all authority assembled lists which integrate all parties.

Meanwhile, Beirut’s Future Movement MP Ammar Houri, said that the rate of participation at the municipal elections at a norm is low. However, he told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper “we are going in full power and hope for a wide participation.”

“Democracy allows everyone to run, which is an undisputed right for all, and the choice remains to the voter,” Houri said.

“To us, the municipal elections are a binding political battle which symbolize equality among Muslims and Christians in Lebanon, peaceful coexistence, in addition to the diversity which brings all political powers together to work on developing Beirut,” Houri added.

The “Beirutis’ List’” roster includes 24 candidates, six of which are current effective municipal members, while “Beirut Madinati” includes 24 candidates both female and male running equally, in a first of its kind initiative ever witnessed by Beirut’s Municipal elections.

On the other hand, “Beirutis’ List” president Jamal Itani announced in his campaign that the municipality’s program would headline as “Beirut, green and clean”; the latter and his list would save no effort in solving the garbage crisis, improving medical care, clinics and public schools.

Moreover, Itani’s program promotes cultural projects and the preservation of historical venues of the capital city.
Asharq Al-Awsat

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