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Lebanese in 48 countries voting in elections

BEIRUT (AP) – Thousands of Lebanese living in nearly 50 countries began early voting yesterday in the country’s closely watched parliamentary elections, days after a similar vote was held in 10 predominantly Muslim nations.

About 195,000 Lebanese had registered to vote yesterday in 48 countries including the United States, Canada, Australia, Russia, European Union member states and several African nations.

The vote in Lebanon takes place on May 15.

Among those voting yesterday are many Lebanese who fled the country over the past two years during a historic economic meltdown.

The downturn has been blamed on decades of corruption and mismanagement by the political class that has been running the small nation since the end of the 1975-90 civil war.

Parliamentary elections are held once every four years and the last vote in 2018 gave majority seats to the Hezbollah group and its allies.

The vote this year for the 128-member legislature is the first since the economic and financial crisis began in October 2019 leading to nationwide protests.

Little change was expected from the vote as mainstream political parties and politicians remained strong going into the vote while opposition figures are fractured.