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World

AFP
March 8, 2018

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Record number of women register to run in Lebanon election

BEIRUT: A record number of women are among nearly 1,000 candidates who have registered to stand in Lebanon’s first legislative elections in nine years, state media reported on Wednesday.

A total of 976 people announced their candidacies for 128 parliamentary seats before registration for the May 6 poll closed late Tuesday, the state-run National News Agency said. They include 111 women, the NNA reported, citing the interior ministry which manages elections.

That marks a sharp increase compared with the previous legislative election in 2009 when just 12 women were among 706 candidates who took part. Among the female candidates are high-profile journalist Paula Yaacoubian, civil society activist and first-time candidate Nayla Geagea, and lawyer and one-time presidential candidate Nadine Moussa.

Lebanon’s political scene has long been divided between a bloc led by Iran-backed movement Hizbullah and another Saudi-aligned camp headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a Sunni politician.

Lebanon recognises 18 official religious sects and its parliamentary seats are divided equally between Muslims and Christians, an arrangement unique in the region. The May 6 vote will be the first test of Lebanon’s new proportional electoral law which was agreed on in 2017 after years of wrangling among Lebanon’s various political factions.

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