Koura’s parliamentary by-elections to fill the Greek-Orthodox seat vacated by the late Lebanese Forces bloc MP Farid Habib who died last May kicked off on Sunday morning ,National News Agency reported.
Jean Mofreg, Naim al-Aajami, Youssef Sakkaf, George Matar, Fadi Karam and Walid al-Aazar are the six candidates competing for the seat.
NNA also said that the number of voters according to check lists was 57,537 people, adding that there were 128 polling stations.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry announced that citizens can voice any complaints they may have regarding the by-elections by calling the hotline number 1766.
The report added that Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) representatives were present in all polling stations.
Update 1: Average voter turnout up till 11 am was 12.5 %
Update 2: Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP) candidate in Koura by-elections Walid al-Aazar said in remarks published on Sunday that if Lebanese Forces candidate Fadi Karam wins the elections he would have done so by bribing voters.
“We represent the legitimacy of Koura’s [citizens]. If the other party wins, it [means] it won by buying votes,” Aazar told Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai.
“We tell them that Koura is not for sale. Let them stop the sectarian incitement. It is not our fault that the LF’s image in Korua is that of murder and destruction,” Aazar whose SSNP party is closely allied with Hezbollah and the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad added.
According to local observer LF’s Karam is the projected winner
Update3 : The secretary general of the Phalnge party Michel Khoury confirmed to MTV that his party backs the Lebanese Forces candidate Dr. Fadi Karam
Update 4: General Director of Political Affairs at the Interior Ministry Elias al-Khoury told LBC television on Sunday that the voter turnout reached 15 % as at noon time, National News Agency reported.
Deputy Speaker and March 14 MP Farid Makari who cast his vote today in Koura told reporters
“The battle of Koura’s by-elections is between a party that represents the March 14 bloc and another that represents Hezbollah, Iran and the Syrian regime,” in reference to Walid al-Aazar of SSNP.
Update 5: According to unconfirmed reports witnesses saw several buses of Syrians were heading to Koura. The Syrians according to the report are naturalized.
Update 6: Polling stations in the Sunday Koura by-elections closed at 7 pm and officials began counting the votes, National News Agency reported.
Turnout was estimated to be between 45 and 47 percent.
Interior Minister Marwan Charbel will announce the results Monday at 10:30 am.
Update7: based on the results of 83 out of 128 polling stations the results are: Karam won 8000 votes against 7104 for Azar and 212 for Mofreg
Update8: based on the results of 90 out of 128 polling stations the results are: Karam won 8726 votes against 7563 for Azar and 220 for Mofreg
Update 9: based on the results of 93 out of 128 polling stations the results are: Karam won 9109 votes against 7821 for Azar and 232 for Mofreg
Update 10: based on the results of 98 out of 128 polling stations the results are: Karam won 9536 votes against 8517 for Azar and 247 for Mofreg
Update 11: based on the results of 103 out of 128 polling stations the results are: Karam won 10364 votes against 9102 for Azar and 247 for Mofreg
Update 12: based on the results of 114 out of 128 polling stations the results are: Karam won 11602 votes against 10187 for Azar and 257 for Mofreg
Update 13: based on the results of 124 out of 128 polling stations the results are: Karam won 12400 votes against 10975 for Aazar and 259 for Mofreg
Update 14: based on the final results of 128 out of 128 polling stations the results are: Karam won 12507 votes against 11262 for Aazar and 259 for Mofreg