BEIRUT: A battle pitting Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement versus a Shiite coalition will unfold in Bekaa’s second district, when Lebanon holds its first parliamentary elections in nine years on May 6.
The Future Movement has forged an alliance alongside the Progressive Socialist Party under the banner of ‘Al Moustaqbal Lel Bekaa El Gharbi w Rashaya,’ with the list expected to win the votes of Lebanese Forces supporters in the area given the group’s strong objection to any Hezbollah affiliated candidates.
On the other side of the spectrum, a coalition backed by Hezbollah and Speaker Nabih Berri's Amal Movement including former Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Mrad and former Information Minister Elie Ferzli, a close ally of the Free Patriotic Movement, will attempt to rally the Rashaya-West Bekaa electoral base in their favor.
Bekaa’s second district, which lumps together Rashaya and West Bekaa, is a predominantly Sunni area, with members of the sect accounting to almost 50 percent of eligible voters while being reserved two of the six seats up for grabs.
Druze, Shiites, Christian Greek Orthodox, and Maronites are reserved one seat each. Druze and Shiites constitute around 30 percent of eligible voters while Christians account for 14 percent.
Lebanon’s new electoral law, adopted for the first time in the country’s history, has also breathed life into the opposition with independent candidates hoping to be elected to the next Parliament. A civil society list that includes TV presenter Maguy Aoun will seek to deny the two-establishment lists a sweeping win.
The elections slated for May 6 will set the stage for highly contested battles across the newly formed 15 districts, as Lebanese voters hit the polling stations to elect their representatives for the first time since 2009.
Lebanon’s new electoral law stipulates that each voter shall vote for one of the competing lists and shall be entitled to cast one preferential vote for a candidate of the same chosen list.
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