Campaign posters for parliamentary candidates elections adorn a street in Beirut, Wednesday, May 2, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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With campaigning for Lebanon's first general elections in nine years reaching a climax Friday, political analysts do not expect a major or radical shift in the country's delicate balance of power to emerge from Sunday's polls despite the fact that the voting will be conducted under a new proportional electoral system for the first time.Salamey predicted that a more divided Parliament would emerge from the elections as a result of new alliances.Pollsters expect the Future Movement's parliamentary bloc, currently the largest in Parliament with 32 MPs, will be reduced to around 24 as a result of the proportional vote law, but Kassir said that would not hurt Prime Minister Saad Hariri.Noting that MP Walid Joumblatt's parliamentary bloc, which currently has 12 MPs, is expected to lose four MPs as a result of the new vote law, Kassir said the two main Shiite parties, the Amal Movement and Hezbollah, with each now having 13 MPs, are expected to muster a bloc of 40 MPs, including allies.That's why the elections see parties aligned in one district while competing with each other in another.Salamey and Kassir said the political escalation was designed to drum up popular support and mobilize voters ahead of the elections.
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