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Lebanon Holds Local Elections Under Tight Security

  • VOA News

A woman casts her vote at a polling station during municipal elections in Beirut, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. Sunday's vote is the first since an eight-month trash crisis in Beirut sparked massive anti-government protests.

A woman casts her vote at a polling station during municipal elections in Beirut, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. Sunday's vote is the first since an eight-month trash crisis in Beirut sparked massive anti-government protests.

Thousands of Lebanese are headed to the polls under tight security for municipal elections in Beirut and the Bekaa Valley.

Beirut residents are electing a 24-seat municipal council to run the city's affairs for the next six years.

Turnout in Beirut remained low with less than 13 percent participation reported. Turnout was higher in the Bekaa area which is dominated by the Shiite movement Hezbollah.

Sunday's vote is the first since an eight-month trash crisis in Beirut sparked massive anti-government protests.

Since then, grassroot organizations and other traditionally outsider groups challenge the country's mainstream political establishment widely seen as corrupt and inept.

Beirut Madinati, Arabic for "Beirut is my city", has emerged vowing to clean up the city's politics and streets. The alliance is made up of teachers, fishers and artists including well-known film director Nadine Labaki.

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

The vote is the first since 2010. The government has postponed parliamentary elections, citing security concerns linked to the conflict in neighboring Syria.

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