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Voting for Lebanon

Voting for Lebanon

Tension is running high in Lebanon as the nation prepares for its parliamentary elections on June 7.

June 4, 2009 10:37 by

This is a tense time for Lebanon. Not only is its much anticipated parliamentary elections scheduled for June 7, but the accusation Der Spiegel, a German magazine, levied against Hezbollah for its alleged role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, has turned the already tense situation into a potentially volatile one.

“In regards to the Der Spiegel article, I want to say that the conspiracy is there,” Hassan Nasrallah said during a speech in Beirut, Lebanon, on Monday.

“What Der Spiegel wrote about our involvement in the Hariri assassination is nothing but an Israeli accusation, and we will deal with it on that basis,” he added.

Heightened tension among Lebanese factions may explain the spate of political arrests since April 2009; the government has reportedly arrested 35 citizens on suspicion of spying for Israel. Among those in custody are two colonels from Lebanon’s General Security directorate and a former brigadier general.

Lebanon and Israel are technically at war.

But the drama doesn’t end there: a report in Naharnet, a Beirut-based website, reports that the government has confiscated between 4,000 to 10,000 forged identity cards that were distributed in Zahle, Baabda, Western Bekaa and south Lebanon districts.

The parliamentary elections on Sunday will determine the political clout both Hezbollah and Christian factions will have over the Western-backed anti-Syrian coalition led by Sunni Muslim Saad Hariri. Most of the 128 seats have already been decided by the nation’s sectarian voting system and established political pacts, leaving roughly 30 seats in the air.

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