Hariri shows his inked finger after voting in Beirut, Sunday, May 6, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Lebanon's first general elections in nearly a decade were marked by a weak voter turnout Sunday, reflecting people's frustration with the long-established political class' failure to resolve chronic political and socio-economic problems.Final voter turnout throughout Lebanon reached 49.2 percent, compared with 54 percent in the 2009 elections, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk announced at a news conference shortly after midnight.Under the new law, voters chose one list of allied candidates and a preferred candidate from among them.The low voter turnout came against the backdrop of about 3.7 million eligible voters, apparently with thousands of them outside the country.Voter turnout in Europe, Africa, Australia and the Americas was low compared to the first phase of the vote in Arab countries.Around 31 percent of 70,355 registered voters participated in the voting in non-Arab countries, while 65 percent of 12,615 registered voters cast their ballots in six Arab states.Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, running in the elections for a parliamentary seat in his northern hometown of Batroun, decried what he called the use of "electoral money" to buy votes.The European Union's Election Observation Mission, which is monitoring the elections, said it had a "very positive" impression of the voting process in 98 percent of cases observed.
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