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Polls close in Lebanon's hotly contested election

The voting stations have closed and the votes are now being counted in Lebanon’s tightly contested parliamentary elections.  At least 52 percent of the electorate turned out for the poll, said Ziad Baroud, the Lebanese Interior minister. That’s a seven-point increase on the country's last parliamentary elections, in 2005, when only 45 percent of registered voters turned out.

Lebanon election may determine future of US support

Campaigning  for Lebanon’s parliamentary elections has ended as voters prepare to go to the polls on Sunday. The electorate is deeply divided between two main political coalitions, and the fault lines between them were on display this week on Sassine Square in largely Christian east Beirut.

Lebanese head to the polls

BEIRUT — Hezbollah already won what they called a “Divine Victory” in the war with Israel in 2006; by comparison their success at the polls in the 2009 elections seems like a sideshow — and a foregone conclusion.

Obama's speech: The view from Beirut

President Barack Obama may have come to Cairo to kick off a new beginning to relations with the Arab world, but in Lebanon, his speech had to contend with work, election campaigning and card games.

Going rate for a vote in Lebanon? $700

BEIRUT — Zeina Halabi lives in London, but that hasn't stopped politicians in Lebanon from trying to buy her vote. One week before Lebanon's June 7 parliamentary elections, the 25-year-old's voting district is hotly contested. Two competing political parties have offered the graduate student an airline ticket home in exchange for her vote. Halabi turned down the first offer, from the U.S.-backed March 14 coalition. But she accepted a $700 plane ticket offered by Hezbollah ally Michel Aoun’s political party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).

No place to go

Hezbollah denies involvement in Hariri assasination

Hezbollah dismissed allegations it played a role in the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, one day after a German magazine published a report saying the group was responsible.

Joe Biden visits Beirut

Vice President Joe Biden made a stop in Beirut on Friday, the second visit by a high-ranking U.S. government official in the run-up to Lebanon’s crucial June 7 parliamentary elections. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited late last month. Biden is the first sitting vice president to visit Lebanon in more than 25 years, since then-Vice President George H.W. Bush visited the country after a massive car bomb destroyed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing more than 240 servicemen.

From displacement to homelessness

NAHR AL-BARED, Lebanon — Fadi El Tayaar’s home used to be in the middle of one of Lebanon’s largest Palestinian refugee camps, Nahr al-Bared. It was a bustling center of commerce in Lebanon’s north, and he remembers how the main street was once crammed with Lebanese shoppers during holidays. “The Lebanese were depending on the items and goods from here,” he said. “It was a market, the prices were cheap.”

Search for justice in Hariri case

BEIRUT — The decision on April 29 to release four generals suspected of involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri sent shockwaves through Lebanon and around the region. The generals had been held in a Lebanese prison for nearly four years. They were arrested under the direction of the United Nations International Independent Investigation, established in 2005 and busy ever since collecting evidence in the car bombing that killed Hariri and 22 others.
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