A couple take a selfie as they display their ink-stained fingers after casting their votes during Lebanon's parliamentary elections in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, May 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
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Back in 2009, with the freshly agreed Doha accord easing the political rivalries and paving the way for a parliamentary vote, the Baalbeck-Hermel town of Arsal was a very different place.The operation to oust the last Daesh (ISIS) fighters entrenched around the mountains overlooking the town occurred less than a year ago. Hariri's party – strategically allied to the Lebanese Forces to oppose the Shiite duo of Hezbollah and the Amal Movement in the area – was clearly the favorite in the Sunni-majority town, where white-and-blue flags bearing the party's name were ubiquitous.But outside the perimeter of the area just down the road that cuts the Shiite-dominated district of Baalbeck-Hermel, the flags soon change to the yellow-and-green of Hezbollah. The voters' political reasoning for their support, however, is eerily similar. Hezbollah and Amal formed a list called "Hope and Loyalty," while the Future Movement and the Lebanese Forces opted for "Dignity and Loyalty".
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