June 30
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Lebanese vote in the first elections since the country's economic collapse on Sunday. This is a test of whether Hezbollah and its allies can maintain their parliamentary majority, writes Reuters.

Polling stations opened at 07:00 local time in 15 constituencies. Citizens over the age of 21 vote in their ancestral towns and villages, sometimes far from home.

The country is experiencing an economic downturn that the World Bank blames on the ruling class and a devastating 2020 Beirut port explosion. Analysts say public outrage over both issues could bring some reform-minded candidates into parliament.

In the most recent vote in 2018, the Shia movement Hezbollah and its allies, including President Michel Aoun's Christian party Free Patriotic Movement, won 71 out of 128 seats in parliament.

As the vote neared, observers said candidates would buy votes with food parcels and fuel stamps given to families hit hard by the financial collapse.

The next parliament must vote on key reforms needed by the International Monetary Fund to obtain financial support to ease the crisis and elect a new president to replace Aoun, whose term expires on 31 October.

Regardless of the outcome of Sunday's vote, analysts say Lebanon could face a period of paralysis that stalls economic recovery while factions bid for portfolios in a new power-sharing cabinet, a process that could take months.

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