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Families Gear up for Electoral Battle with Hezbollah in its Stronghold | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A policeman stands guard as voters queue to cast their ballots at a polling station during Beirut’s municipal elections, Lebanon, May 8, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Beirut- After the disappointing results that the so-called Hezbollah group garnered in the first round of the municipal elections that were held last Sunday, the party is now gearing up for new battles but this time in its stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

Several families decided to enter into a confrontation with Hezbollah under the slogan of carrying out development projects amid a deterioration in services at municipalities allied with the party in the neighborhoods of Bourj al-Barajneh and al-Ghubairi.

The main confrontation at next Sunday’s polls, which are set to take place in the Mount Lebanon Governorate, will be in Beirut’s southern suburbs, Sin el-Fil, Jounieh and Hadath.

Hezbollah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement were successful in forming consensual lists in most of the neighborhoods of the suburbs or what is known as Dahieh. But they failed to strike a deal in Bourj al-Barajneh and al-Ghubairi.

In Bourj al-Barajneh, there is a list backed by the parties and another one formed by the area’s families.

The second list – made up of 17 independent candidates – launched its campaign last Saturday but avoided criticizing Hezbollah and focused instead on development issues.

The members of the list hesitated to give remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat. One of them told the newspaper that certain “circumstances stop them from making statements.”

An anti-Hezbollah political researcher, Ali al-Amin, said that “members of the list confronting Hezbollah in Bourj al-Barajneh have received direct threats to stop them from exercising their right to promote their list a few days before the elections.”

“Hezbollah considers its stronghold in Dahieh a red line,” said al-Amin, adding that the party would not allow the suburbs to be “tampered with.”

The lists in both Bourj al-Barajneh and al-Ghubairi are “confronting a huge security-military-financial campaign led by Hezbollah and backed by the state’s agencies,” said al-Amin.

He wondered why the media, the civil society and anti-Hezbollah politicians have not backed the lists in the two areas.