An FPM official casts her poll in the Ashrafieh neighborhood of Beirut.
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High turnout marked the Free Patriotic Movement's district elections Sunday, as the party laid the groundwork for a future without its founder, Gen. Michel Aoun.National turnout of party members exceeded 75 percent, according to Richard Hana, who served on the electoral committee, and it soared in the districts contested by strong anti-establishment candidates.In Beirut's first district, 87 percent of the party's 463 members voted in a closely watched proxy contest between Bassil's second in command, former Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui, and party insider Ziad Abs. Outside candidates also won in Aley, Baalbek-Hermel, Jbeil and the Chouf among other districts, according to the party official.Party leaders painted the various internal currents as the normal workings of a healthy party and stressed the FPM's cohesiveness.The party's self-congratulatory mantras set the day's tone.
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