In first, Lebanese expats can vote in country's elections

Lebanese in six Middle Eastern countries began voting in the country's first elections since 2009.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri arrives with Army Commander General Joseph Aoun (L) at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters (photo credit: REUTERS/ALI HASHISHO)
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri arrives with Army Commander General Joseph Aoun (L) at the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) headquarters
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALI HASHISHO)
Lebanese citizens living abroad began began voting Friday in the country’s elections scheduled for May 6. Over 12,000 Lebanese registered voters in six Middle Eastern countries, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman, were the first to be able to cast their ballots.
This is the first time in Lebanon’s history that the nation’s large diaspora community is eligible to vote. According to Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, a total of 82,970 Lebanese are registered abroad. Al-Manar reported that 2,949 out of the 12,611 Lebanese registered in Arab states had gone to the polls Friday morning.
On Sunday, Lebanese in 33 other countries will be able to vote in the country's first parliamentary elections since 2009. The Lebanese diaspora numbers up to 10 million, but expats will likely only make up a small percentage of the vote overall.
Although this is the first vote in nine years, with 917 candidates from 77 political lists vying for 128 seats, Lebanon's political landscape looks much as it did in 2009. Hezbollah’s role in the political system will likely be further entrenched, and the country will remain divided along the sectarian lines.