Sunni Vote in Limbo as Shi’ite Parties to Sweep Parliamentary Seats in Southern Lebanese District

Sunni Vote in Limbo as Shi’ite Parties to Sweep Parliamentary Seats in Southern Lebanese District

Sunday, 18 March, 2018 - 09:00
A Lebanese woman casts her vote at a polling station during the municipal elections in Beirut, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. (AP)
Beirut - Youssef Diab
The AMAL and “Hezbollah” Shi’ite duo, will enter an already settled battle in the third southern electorate constituency, during the May 6 parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

The district includes the areas of Marjeyoun, Nabatiyeh and Bin Jbeil.

Their expected victory is based on three main factors. First, 90 percent of the 450,000 registered voters this electoral district are from the Shi’ite sect.

Second, the electoral campaign of the two parties is capable of managing the distribution of the “preferential vote” among its candidates.

Third, there are no strong parties that can compete with the AMAL and “Hezbollah” alliance, even if observers believe that their list could be breached by one or two candidates, if competing forces succeed in striking an alliance and casting a preferential vote for specific candidates.

In the absence of any influential Shi’ite force capable of competing against the two main parties, some sides have bet on the Sunni sect to produce a surprise in the elections.

Sunnis represent seven percent of eligible voters in the third southern constituency.

This possibility, however, vanished after the Mustaqbal Movement refrained from fielding a candidate in this particulate electoral district.

The Sunni sect may therefore go to various candidates, effectively weakening whatever little power the sect had in swaying the vote in the area.

The Shi’ite duo has won the Sunni seat in this particular electoral district since 1992.

“It is useless to wage a losing electoral battle,” a source from the Mustaqbal Movement told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The movement could be influential in urging supporters to vote for independent lists or candidates, who share their political views.

Currently, seven Sunnis have already submitted their candidacies in the third southern constituency to compete for one seat, previously won three times by current AMAL Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc MP Qasem Hashem.

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