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Established Candidates Take Lead in Lebanon Elections

  • VOA News

Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam casts his ballot at a polling station during Beirut's municipal elections, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. Despite a grassroots effort to take on country's stagnant political system, establishment candidates have taken the lead in the poll.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam casts his ballot at a polling station during Beirut's municipal elections, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. Despite a grassroots effort to take on country's stagnant political system, establishment candidates have taken the lead in the poll.

A list backed by mainstream candidates is claiming victory in Lebanon's first round of local elections, despite a challenge by grassroot groups that hoped to take on the country's stagnant political system.

Members of the Beirut list, an alliance backed by former prime minister Saad Hariri and other senior politicians, announced they had won all 24 seats in the Beirut municipality.

It saw off a challenge from a competing list called Beirut Mandinati, Arabic for "Beirut is my city", which vowed to clean up the city's politics and its streets.

The vote was the first since an eight-month trash crisis in Beirut sparked massive anti-government protests.

Municipal election were held in Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley, where lists backed by the Shi’ite movement Hezbollah dominated in most municipalities.

A woman casts her vote at a polling station during municipal elections in Beirut, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. Residents of the capital city are electing a 24-seat municipal council to run the its affairs for the next six years.

A woman casts her vote at a polling station during municipal elections in Beirut, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. Residents of the capital city are electing a 24-seat municipal council to run the its affairs for the next six years.


Turnout in Beirut was reported at around 20 percent, while in Bekaa close to 50 percent of registered voters turned out.

Final results are expected later Monday.

Sunday's elections were the first in Lebanon since 2010. The government has postponed parliamentary elections, citing security concerns linked to the conflict in neighboring Syria.

Three other rounds of voting will take place in other parts of the country in the coming weeks.

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