Lebanese parliamentary elections: Second phase of expat voting scheduled for Sunday

Special Lebanese parliamentary elections: Second phase of expat voting scheduled for Sunday
A woman arrives to vote at the Lebanese Embassy in Riyadh during parliamentary elections on Friday. (AFP)
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Updated 07 May 2022

Lebanese parliamentary elections: Second phase of expat voting scheduled for Sunday

Lebanese parliamentary elections: Second phase of expat voting scheduled for Sunday
  • About 60 percent of registered expats in Arab countries voted Friday

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s embassies in countries with a Sunday weekend have completed their arrangements for Lebanese expats to cast their votes in parliamentary elections.

There are over 190,000 Lebanese expats living in the UAE, the US, Australia, and across Europe and Africa who registered their names with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs months ago, out of the millions of Lebanese expats around the world.

The first phase of the Lebanese expat voting process in 10 Arab and Muslim countries ended on Friday night, with a final turnout of nearly 60 percent of registered voters.

Three opposition parties topped the general electoral scene, the Lebanese Phalange Party (Kataeb), the Progressive Socialist Party, and the Lebanese Forces party. Hezbollah and the Amal movement dominated the electoral scene in Iran and Syria, which had the highest turnout.

The turnout of the Sunni voter was remarkable in the Gulf states, specifically voting in the boxes designated for Beirut's second constituency.

It was impossible to trace the votes for the forces of change or what is known as the candidates of the revolutionary movements that took to the streets in 2019, as they had several lists which dispersed the expat vote.

Candidates are committed to an electoral silence that lasts until Monday, according to electoral law.

Arab News contacted sources close to them. One of them said on condition of anonymity: “According to our sources in the Gulf countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain, a good percentage of expats voted for the forces of change. Voters who voted for the revolution's lists posted pictures of their fingers dipped in blue ink.

“Votes in Beirut's second constituency, specifically by the Sunni voter, were remarkable, although some Sunnis boycotted the elections in line with the Future Movement's decision not to participate. Other voters boycotted because they did not find in the traditional parties’ lists anyone who would convince them to re-elect them, specifically the Shiite voter preferred to boycott the electoral process.”

According to the final results of the voter turnout, Syria had the highest, amounting to 83.79 percent, 73.83 percent in Iran, 66.45 percent in Oman, 65.59 percent in Kuwait, 49.26 percent in Saudi Arabia, 66.46 percent in Bahrain, 59.63 percent in Jordan, 48.72 in Qatar, 48 percent in Iraq, and 44 percent in Egypt.

About 18,000 expats voted in these countries, from around 31,000 registered voters. The general percentage was 58.89 percent.

In 2018, the turnout in Arab countries was about 65 percent.

The ballot boxes arrived in Lebanon on Saturday, sealed with red wax and equipped with a tracking device via DHL, with the exception of the two ballot boxes from Iran, which Lebanese ambassador Abbas Hassan brought personally by air as DHL does not deal with Iranian authorities. He said that the two boxes held 474 votes.

At the Masnaa crossing, on Lebanon's border with Syria, the Ministry of Interior received three ballot boxes containing 853 votes.

The boxes were transferred to the Banque du Liban for safekeeping until the evening of May 15, after the end of the electoral process in Lebanon, to be sorted with the rest of the ballot boxes.


Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry
Updated 02 July 2022

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry

Israeli strike on Syria wounds two civilians: ministry
  • Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes in Syria since the 2011 civil war
  • Last month Israeli strikes on Damascus International Airport rendered its runways unusable for weeks

An Israeli strike on Syria’s western coast wounded two civilians on Saturday, the Syrian defense ministry said.
“The Israeli enemy carried out an air strike” at about 6:30 am near the town of Al-Hamidiyah, the ministry said in a statement, identifying the locations hit as poultry farms, without elaborating.
The strike was conducted from the Mediterranean Sea, west of Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli, and “led to the injury of two civilians, including a woman,” the statement said.
Since the civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes against its northern neighbor.
The raids have targeted Syrian government troops as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah.
Last month Israeli strikes on Damascus International Airport rendered its runways unusable for weeks.
Besides the extensive damage caused to civilian and military runways, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the strikes had targeted nearby warehouses used as weapons depots by Iran and Hezbollah.
The Syrian war has claimed the lives of nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes.


UAE residents feel tremors caused by 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Iran

UAE residents feel tremors caused by 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Iran
Updated 02 July 2022

UAE residents feel tremors caused by 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Iran

UAE residents feel tremors caused by 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Iran
  • Iran suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years as major geological fault lines crisscross the country

DUBAI: UAE residents reported feeling tremors caused by 6.3 magnitude earthquake that jolted South Iran on Saturday at 3:24 am, according to the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) on Saturday.

NCM added that the quake, which claimed the lives of five people in Iran, did not have any impact on the UAE.

State news agency IRNA said a magnitude 6.3 and 6.1 earthquakes followed the 6.1 quake that flattened the village of Sayeh Khosh near Iran’s Gulf coast, with more than a dozen aftershocks reported.

Iran has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years as major geological fault lines crisscross the country.


Houthi militia targets army positions in Taiz

Houthi militia targets army positions in Taiz
Updated 02 July 2022

Houthi militia targets army positions in Taiz

Houthi militia targets army positions in Taiz
  • The militia is also accused of targeting the army’s sites and residential neighborhoods using snipers

DUBAI: The Houthi militia has bombed army bases in Al-Dhabab area, west of Taiz, according to reports by state news agency Saba on Friday.

This comes as part of the militia’s daily violations of the UN truce, wrote Saba.

Yemen’s army has recorded a total of 2,778 violations by the Houthis since the beginning of the truce until Thursday.

The Taiz Military Axis said the violations ranged from artillery shelling, establishing fortifications and new sites, bringing in reinforcements, building roads, laying mines, conducting reconnaissance, and using drones.

The militia is also accused of targeting the army’s sites and residential neighborhoods using snipers.


At least five killed in magnitude 6.1 quake on Iran Gulf coast

Iranians gather outside their buildings after an earthquake was felt in the capital Tehran on May 7, 2020. (AFP)
Iranians gather outside their buildings after an earthquake was felt in the capital Tehran on May 7, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 02 July 2022

At least five killed in magnitude 6.1 quake on Iran Gulf coast

Iranians gather outside their buildings after an earthquake was felt in the capital Tehran on May 7, 2020. (AFP)
  • The quake struck just a minute after a 5.7 tremor

TEHRAN: At least five people were killed by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in southern Iran early on Saturday, state media reported, with the area also hit by two later strong quakes of up to 6.3 magnitude.
“Five people have died in the earthquake ... and so far 12 are hospitalized,” Mehrdad Hassanzadeh, head of emergency management in Hormozgan Province on Iran’s Gulf coast, told state TV. “Rescue work has been carried out and we are now providing tents as emergency housing.”

A handout shakemap made available by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows the location of a 6.1-magnitude earthquake hitting around 54km north east of Bandar-e Lengeh, Iran, 02 July 2022. (EPA)

The state news agency IRNA said a magnitude 6.3 earthquake and a magnitude 6.1 quake followed the 6.1 quake that flattened the village of Sayeh Khosh near Iran’s Gulf coast. There were more than a dozen aftershocks.
“All of the victims died in the first earthquake and no-one was harmed in the next two severe quakes as people were already outside their homes,” said Foad Moradzadeh, governor of Bandar Lengeh country, quoted by the state news agency IRNA.
Major geological fault lines crisscross Iran, which has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake in Kerman province killed 31,000 people and flattened the ancient city of Bam.

 


Protesters storm into parliament building in eastern Libya

Protesters storm into parliament building in eastern Libya
Updated 02 July 2022

Protesters storm into parliament building in eastern Libya

Protesters storm into parliament building in eastern Libya



BENGHAZI, Libya: Demonstrators broke into the building that houses the eastern Libya-based parliament in Tobruk on Friday, setting fire to parts of it amid protests over months of failed efforts to set the divided country on a path toward elections.
One witness, Taher Amaizig, said thousands joined a march to the parliament building calling for the current political powers to be dissolved and elections to be held. He said that as security guards tried to prevent people from entering, a protester was shot in the legs and other demonstrators then forced their way inside.
Videos circulated on social media showed protesters filing past burning piles. Friday is the first day of the weekend in Libya, meaning the building was likely empty when it was stormed. It was unclear what protesters intended by targeting the building
Other protests demanding elections were staged earlier in the day in several cities around Libya.
The unrest comes a day after representatives of Libya’s rival powers — one based in the east of the country and the other in the west — failed at UN-mediated talks in Geneva to reach agreement on a constitutional framework for national elections.
After more than a decade of war, the country is once again split between competing administrations, sliding backwards despite a year of tentative steps toward unity.
Oil-rich Libya has been wrecked by conflict since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, leading to a rise in rival governments. The administration based in the east is backed by military commander Khalifa Haftar, and a UN-supported administration is based in the capital of Tripoli. Each side is supported by different militias and foreign powers.
Tobruk, the seat of Libya’s House of Representatives, has long been allied with Haftar. More recently the parliament there elected Fathy Basghagha as prime minister to a government that rivals the Tripoli-based administration. Bashagha, a powerful former interior minister, is now operating a separate administration out of the city of Sirte.
Libya’s plan for elections last Dec. 24 fell through after the interim administration based in Tripoli, headed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, failed to go ahead with the vote. The failure was a major blow to international efforts to end a decade of chaos in Libya.
The deteriorating economic situation was also a factor in Friday’s protests. In Tripoli, hundreds came out earlier in the day in opposition to the political crisis but also to rail against electricity shortages and rising prices for fuel and bread.