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Election Fever Hits Lebanon, Nine Years since Last Legislative Vote

As its first parliamentary vote in nearly a decade approaches, Lebanon has been swept into campaign fever: posters on every corner, televised debates, and neighbors bickering over new electoral procedures.

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Electoral Clash Escalates into Gunfire in Dinniyeh

An elections-related clash escalated into gunfire Tuesday in the northern town of Bakhoun in the Dinniyeh district.

“A clash broke out between young men in Bakhoun's al-Saa Square in connection with the hanging and removal of candidates' posters,” the National News Agency said.

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Islamist Prisoners' Families Block Tripoli Southern Entrance

Relatives of Islamist prisoners on Tuesday blocked the southern entrance of the northern city of Tripoli, declaring the start of an escalation aimed at pressing for a pre-elections general amnesty.

Al-Jadeed television said protesters blocked the road at the al-Salam roundabout on Tripoli's southern entrance.

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Hariri Asks Clerics to Rally Beirut Voters, Says Lebanon 'Not a Mailbox'

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday urged the country's Sunni clerics to “call on Beirut's people to raise the voter turnout to its maximum level” in the upcoming parliamentary polls, warning that “there are attempts to impose hegemony on the capital and its representatives.”

Turning to the regional developments, Hariri slammed what he called “blatant crimes against the Syrian people and against the innocent children and civilians in Douma, Ghouta and other places.”

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Report: Complaints Rise about Election Law Violations

Fears have started mounting after reports alleging that numerous violations against the electoral law were detected, in addition to “clientelist vote buying and abuse of government resources,” as the country gears up for its first general elections in nine years, media reports said Tuesday.

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Report: Bassil Remarks Revive AMAL-FPM Row

Dispute between AMAL Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement resurfaced again to “unprecedented levels,” following statements made by Foreign Minister and FPM chief Jebran Bassil during an electoral campaign visit to Lebanon’s (Shiite majority) South area over the weekend, the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported Tuesday.

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Supporters of Mustaqbal, Rival Candidate in Beirut Brawl

A clash erupted Monday morning in Beirut's Caracas area between supporters of al-Mustaqbal Movement and others loyal to rival Beirut parliamentary candidate Nabil Bader, who is running on a Beirut list led by al-Liwaa newspaper editor-in-chief Salah Salam.

LBCI TV said tensions between the two groups had started after Bader rented an apartment in Caracas and turned it into an electoral campaign office, which “provoked” Mustaqbal's supporters.

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Hariri: Saudi Wants Lebanon Stability, Hizbullah Committed to Settlement

Prime Minister Saad Hariri has stressed that Saudi Arabia is keen on Lebanon's stability and that Hizbullah is “still committed” to the political settlement that led to the election of President Michel Aoun and the formation of his government.

“The kingdom wants Lebanon's stability and it was present at the Rome and Paris conferences. It is backing Lebanon politically and economically and Hizbullah is still committed to the settlement,” Hariri told reporters aboard a plane that carried him to Beirut from Saudi Arabia where he attended the 29th Arab Summit along with President Michel Aoun.

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Aoun Says Won't Sign Amnesty for Those Involved in Killing Soldiers

President Michel Aoun has announced that he will not sign any general amnesty that would pardon inmates involved in the killing of Lebanese Army soldiers.

Talking to reporters aboard the plane that carried him overnight to Beirut, Aoun described his meeting in Saudi Arabia with King Salman as “positive, excellent and fruitful.”

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Jumblat Expected to Visit Tripoli after Hariri-Arslan Hasbaya Meeting

Prime Minister Saad Hariri's visit to Hasbaya several days ago has irritated the Progressive Socialist Party, especially that it was made in coordination with Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan, sources close to PSP chief MP Walid Jumblat have said.

Commenting on Arslan's welcoming of Hariri at Hasbaya's Chehabiyeh Fort and his insistence that Hariri visit the Khalwat al-Bayada Druze prayer-houses, the sources said “someone is deliberately crossing the red lines by infiltrating the Druze community.”

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