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Security Key Issue in Lebanon Elections


As voters in Lebanon go to the polls on Sunday June 7, one issue seems to be dominating the elections more than any other: security. In the tumultuous landscape of Lebanese politics, the issue of security is of particular importance to one candidate: Nayla Tueni, whose father Gebran Tueni was assassinated six months after being elected in 2005 to the seat she now seeks.

Nayla Tueni is a candidate for parliament. A stable Lebanon matters to her more than most candidates. Her father was Gebran Tueni, a member of parliament who was assassinated in 2005.

His murder was widely seen as revenge for his criticism of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese allies. Syria, who has long lobbied for control of Lebanon, continues to deny the accusations.

Nayla Tueni believes outside forces are still a major threat to Lebanon.

"We don't know if they will continue to kill us, continue to kill those who are not with the Syrian regime, who are to with the Iranians, who are not with Hezbollah and who are not with all these people because we are asking for our freedom, sovereignty and independence, maybe they will kill us, nobody knows," she said.

Boutros Harb is Lebanese member of parliament up for re-election. He also believes that improving security in Lebanon is key and will improve other problems the country is facing.

"Building a country, a stable country without everyday war and transforming Lebanon away from continuous struggle will help Lebanon to have a better economy, a more stable economy and will help people have a better standard of life," he noted.

The desire for safety and political stability is reflected in the streets of Beirut.

MAN1: "Also long as there is safety and security everything, even the economy, will improve."

MAN2: "We want decent candidates and everything passes without any trouble."

WOMAN: "Security is the most important, but the Lebanese forces will be out for the elections so I'm not afraid."

Lebanon has suffered long periods of political violence and upheaval. In 1975 the country spiraled into civil war that lasted 15 years.

Then just 4 years ago, a number of assassinations saw the former prime minister and outspoken critic of Syria, Rafik Hariri, killed as well as Gebran Tueni.

Nayla Tueni says her father's vision of a strong and independent Lebanon is what inspired her to run for a parliamentary seat.

"For him and for my country, because I love my country, I decided to present myself for the election," she added. "I believed in what he said and what he wanted for the country."

The desire for stability in Lebanon seems one that everyone wants. The challenge for politicians will be making that dream of security into a reality.

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