Polls 🗳 open in Lebanon as Hezbollah challenges 💪 Western-backed Hariri

  |   World News

Polling got under way Sunday across Lebanon, where voters electing their parliament for the first time in nine years are expected to return the same ruling parties to office.

The vote is expected to be a test for the country’s Western-backed Sunni prime minister, Saad Hariri, and his Iran-backed Shiite opponent, the Hezbollah terror group, which is looking to tighten its grip and expand its presence in the 128-seat parliament — likely at Hariri’s expense.

The vote was taking place amid tight security with army and police forces deployed near polling stations and on major intersections.

Queues of voters formed outside some polling stations in the capital Beirut even before polling stations opened.

At least 20,000 police officers were deployed nationwide to secure voting operations in 1,880 polling stations, according to the interior ministry.

There are about 3.7 million eligible voters and early results are expected to start coming out after polling stations close at 7 p.m.

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