Lebanon starts 2nd phase of expat voting in parliamentary elections

by IANS |

Beirut, May 9 (IANS) The second phase of Lebanese expatriates voting in parliamentary elections kicked off in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and 48 other countries on Sunday.

More than 25,000 Lebanese voters residing in the UAE are eligible to vote and long queues were reported outside polling stations, Xinhua news agency reported, citing Lebanese news platform L'Orient Today.

According to the official Lebanese National News Agency (NNA), a total of 194,348 Lebanese expatriates have registered to cast their votes in the ballot boxes in Lebanese embassies and consulates in Canada, the US, Australia, and other countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun visited Sunday the Foreign Ministry to inspect its monitoring of the second phase of expat parliamentary elections that got underway in the morning, noting he hoped "the elections will end without any problems or objections."

The first phase of expatriates' voting took place on Friday in 10 countries, namely Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Iran.

The voter turnout in the 10 countries was 59.49 per cent on Friday, Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib was quoted by the NNA as saying.

The Lebanese elections, which are slated for May 15 at home, come amid an unprecedented economic crisis that emerged about three years ago, leading to the currency collapse and plunging over 70 per cent of the population into poverty.

Holding the elections is among the many requirements from the international organizations and donor countries for extending their support to the crisis-hit country.

Parliamentary elections are held in Lebanon every 4 years, and a total of 718 candidates, including 118 females, are running for the elections of the 128-seat Lebanese parliament scheduled for May 15.

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