Lebanon Voter Turnout at ‘Unheard of Levels’

Despite Pre-Vote Polls, Ruling Coalition Emerges Victorious

As Lebanon’s historic 2009 elections come to a close, officials are reporting voter turnout “unheard of in the history of Lebanese elections.” International observers say there were no serious incidents, though three people were arrested for trying to vote with a fake ID.

At stake are all 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament, contested by the ruling Sunni-led March 14 coalition and the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition, which enjoys considerable support among Christians. Some early polls predicted a narrow victory for the Hezbollah bloc, but ultimately the ruling coalition emerged victorious.

The prospect of a Hezbollah victory was a considerable concern among US officials, which have designated the organization terrorists. Vice President Joe Biden made a visit to the nation ahead of the vote, threatening to withdraw US aid if the outcome was not to their liking.

In Lebanon election results are based on religious faction, with Christians, Sunnis and Shi’ites each guaranteed a portion of the seats as well as positions in the government.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.