Sunday saw the second round of Lebanese expat voting, with voters from 48 countries traveling to the polls as the country hopes for a break in the political stalemate.
Given the many time zones, it was impossible to keep track of the votes on each continent. However, young Lebanese expatriates who had only recently left the country exhibited a strong desire to vote for the forces of change over the reigning parties.
On Sunday, a total of 194,348 Lebanese expats were registered to vote, but the turnout was rather low. However, the enthusiasm displayed by many in the first round of expat voting on Friday ensured that optimism remained high.
Compared to the last national elections in 2018, participation is low. Even in nations where voters have officially declared allegiance to Hezbollah and the Amal Movement, voter turnout has been low.
Expats residing in countries with a Sunday weekend voted on Sunday, whereas those residing in 10 Arab and Muslim nations with a Friday weekend voted first on Friday. The third and final stage will be held on May 15, with voting taking place from home.
Saturday at midnight, Beirut time, the polls opened in Australia, where 20,602 voters were enrolled. In the United Arab Emirates, voting began at 6:00 a.m. with 25,066 registered voters in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Then, voting began in European and African nations. As soon as Australia’s polls closed at 3 p.m. Beirut time, Canada, the United States, Brazil, and Venezuela opened theirs.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib reported from the operations room authorized to monitor the elections via the Internet, which is linked to all polling sites across the world, that the turnout in Australia had reached 54 percent one hour before the polls closed.
The lines at the Lebanese General Consulate in Dubai spanned more than one kilometer as voters waited for hours under the sweltering sun to cast their ballots, while around 3 p.m. Beirut time, the turnout in Abu Dhabi reached 65.2%.