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Italy lauds landmark Lebanon polls

07 maggio 2018 | 15.39
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Photo: AFP

Italy's foreign minister Angelino Alfano on Monday hailed Lebanon's first parliamentary elections in nearly a decade, saying the landmark polls further bolstered the country's institutions.

"Congratulations for the performance of elections in Lebanon, which further strengthen the institutions of the Lebanese State,” Alfano said in a statement.

"The holding of elections once again confirms the Lebanese citizens’ traditional attachment to the values of liberty and democracy," he said.

"Several thousand Lebanese living abroad also participated for the first time," Alfano underlined.

The Iran-backed militant Shia group Hezbollah group and its political allies made significant gains in Sunday’s vote while Western-backed premier Saad Hariri’s Future Movement lost support, according to preliminary and unofficial results published in Lebanese media Monday.

Turnout was 49.2 percent compared to 54 percent in 2009, interior minister Nohad Machnouk said. Official results were expected later on Monday or on Tuesday.

The last elections in Lebanon took place in 2009. The parliament was elected for what was supposed to be a four-year term but twice extended this due to instability in neighbouring Syria, and to reform the country's electoral laws.

Lawmakers changed the voting system, reduced the number of districts, and allowed expatriate voting for the first time.

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