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Lebanon votes amid economic woes and political uncertainty

Voting underway in Lebanon
Voting underway in Lebanon Copyright Hassan Ammar/Associated Press
Copyright Hassan Ammar/Associated Press
By Shona Murray
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The Lebanese political system is complex and based on dividing religions. A voter’s choice of candidate is pre-determined based on their religion and there is little motivation for the sides to work together.

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Lebanon has gone to the polls amid the worst financial crash in decades as well as deep economic and political instability caused by the spiralling cost of living and political stalemate.

Rolling electricity blackouts and hyperinflation with the Lebanese currency losing 90 per cent of its value are all on the minds of voters as they take to the polls.

Taha Maassarani took over the family electrical goods store in Tripoli in north Lebanon. While his business is doing OK, he says the government is doing nothing for the people.

“The government, pure government – nothing to blame but the government, and most of the people, because we let them rule us for a very long time," Maassarani told Euronews.

"We haven’t seen anything positive from them. Nothing. No evolving, no education, no childcare support. Nothing.”

It’s also the first time the Lebanese have voted since the devastating explosion two years ago in the port of Beirut, killing over 200 people and injuring thousands.

Anti-government critics say the lack of a full and proper investigation is typical of the inertia in the political system.”

“We lost hope, we had some kind of hope, it was two years ago and we still don’t have the answers and we had other explosions in 2005 and others”, says Mark Aref, owner of an Alo Bebe shop in Tripoli.

An EU election observation mission has been underway since March to assess the validity of the ballot.

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