In this picture taken on Saturday, April 28, 2018, Lebanese elections candidate Laury Haytayan, 42, right, speaks to voters in Beirut's Ashrafieh district, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Philip Issa)
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BEIRUT: With campaigning in full swing for Lebanon's first national election in nine years, Parliament candidate Laury Haytayan was trying to rope in passers-by with her message: She and other political outsiders are running in a new coalition that aims to be an alternative to the country's traditional powers.Fielding 66 candidates in nine of Lebanon's 15 election districts, Watani is the largest coalition of political outsiders and independents to run for office since the Civil War.Other candidates are businessmen, engineers and former journalists like Haytayan, who used to be a reporter on a 1990s TV political news program that has since gone off air.Despite a climate ripe for change in this election, polls indicate the Watani coalition's only hope for victory is in a small Beirut district represented by eight seats in the 128-seat national assembly, according to political analyst Abdo Saad, the director of the Beirut Center for Research and Information.Aware of the challenges, Haytayan and other Watani candidates have adjusted their expectations.Sunday's election is the first since the reorganization of Lebanon's electoral map, which consolidated 23 districts into 15 and awarded seats by the share of the vote received, instead of on the principle of winner-takes-all.
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