Lebanon holds local elections, the first in six years

Beirut // Lebanese headed to the polls for first time in six years on Sunday for municipal elections including in Beirut, where a new grassroots campaign is taking on entrenched parties.

It is the first election of any kind in Lebanon since the last municipal polls in 2010, in a country that has not had a president for the past two years nor voted for a parliament since 2009.

Voters were trickling in to polling stations in Beirut and in two provinces of the Bekaa region in the first stage of a vote that continues until May 29 in five other provinces.

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In Beirut, an unlikely alliance of citizens is for the first time challenging traditional politicians such as former prime minister Saad Hariri, whose Future Movement usually dominates elections in the capital.

Beirut Madinati, Arabic for “Beirut My City”, emerged after civil society gained momentum in protests last summer over a political crisis that saw rubbish pile up on streets.