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Mustaqbal Movement to Lose Half of its Beirut Seats in next Parliamentary Polls | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Mustaqbal Movement leader PM Saad Hariri on February 14, 2017. (AFP)

Beirut – The Mustaqbal Movement is well aware of the major loss that it will incur in Lebanon’s upcoming parliamentary elections, starting in the capital Beirut where experts predict that it will lose half of its seats due to the new division of districts imposed by the new electoral law.

This is seen as a concession made by Mustaqbal chief Prime Minister Saad Hariri to avoid further tensions that would have been inevitable if the country were to be plunged in a parliamentary vacuum.

The 1960 electoral law that was adopted in the 2009 elections saw Beirut divided into three districts. The first included five Christian MPs, the second two Christian and two Muslim seats and the third had 10, six Muslim, one Druze and three Christian.

According to the new electoral law that was adopted earlier in June and which is based on proportional representation, Beirut will be divided into two districts. The first includes the areas of al-Mdawwar, al-Rmeil, al-Saifi, the port and Ashrafieh and the voters will be choosing eight lawmakers, all of whom are Christian. The second district includes the areas of al-Mazraa, al-Mstaytbeh, Ras Beirut, Ain al-Mreisseh, Minet al-Hosn, Zqaq al-Blat and al-Bashoura. Voters will elect 11 lawmakers, six Sunnis, two Shi’ite, two Christian and one Druze.

The current division of the capital will lead to a “resounding” defeat of the Mustaqbal Movement, said researcher at Information International Mohammed Shamseddine. The movement originally had 14 out of 19 lawmakers in the capital and now, at its best, it will have around seven seats.

Hariri has lost his total influence over the first district, which is now dominated by the Christian vote. In the second district, he will have to share the 11 seats with other forces even if Sunni voters outnumber the Shi’ite ones by 216,000 to 71,000.

The weakening of the Mustaqbal Movement in Beirut will empower the main Christian factions, especially the Free Patriotic Movement and Lebanese Forces. Some 133,000 Christian voters will be represented by eight lawmakers, while some 15,000 Muslim voters will not have anyone from their sect represent them.