As Lebanon prepares to vote, here’s a look at its power-sharing system

Candidates are vying for 128 seats that are divided among 11 religious groups according to a strict sectarian power-sharing system. (Reuters)

Lebanon holds its first parliamentary election in nine years on Sunday, with candidates vying for 128 seats that are divided among 11 religious groups according to a strict sectarian power-sharing system. Here are the main players:

Future movement

Future is led by Saad al-Hariri, Lebanon’s leading Sunni and prime minister since 2016. Hariri took on his political role after his father Rafik al-Hariri was assassinated in 2005.

The early years of his political career were defined by confrontation with the heavily armed Shiite group Hezbollah. A UN-backed court later charged five Hezbollah members over the Hariri killing. The group denies any role.

Members of the Future Movement bloc are seen during a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon November 9, 2017. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY

Members of the Future Movement bloc are seen during a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon November 9, 2017. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY



Hariri still opposes the Iran-backed Hezbollah but these days says its arsenal is an issue that is bigger than Lebanon and should be solved through regional dialogue. His focus is now on reviving and reforming the moribund economy.

He enjoys backing from the West, notably France which intervened last November when it is widely acknowledged that Saudi Arabia - once a close ally of the Hariri family - forced him to resign, though Riyadh and Hariri publicly deny it.

Hezbollah

Hezbollah is the most powerful group in Lebanon. It was founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and is deemed a terrorist group by the United States. It has grown even more powerful since 2012 as a key player in the Syrian war, fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hezbollah entered parliament for the first time in the 1990s. It also has ministers in government.

Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah chant slogans and hold flags as they listen to their leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during a rally, in Mashghara village in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon April 15, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah chant slogans and hold flags as they listen to their leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during a rally, in Mashghara village in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon April 15, 2018. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Free Patriotic Movement

The FPM was established by Maronite Christian politician Michel Aoun, a former army commander who led one of two rival governments in the final years of the 1975-90 civil war.

Aoun became president in 2016 as part of the political deal that made Hariri prime minister. The FPM is led by Aoun’s son-in-law, Gebran Bassil and is allied to Hezbollah.

Supporters of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) carry flags and a picture of Christian politician and FPM founder Michel Aoun during a rally to show support for Aoun and calling to elect a president, near the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Lebanon October 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Supporters of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) carry flags and a picture of Christian politician and FPM founder Michel Aoun during a rally to show support for Aoun and calling to elect a president, near the presidential palace in Baabda, near Beirut, Lebanon October 16, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Amal movement

The Shiite Amal Movement was a civil war adversary of Hezbollah but has been closely aligned with the group since the conflict ended. It is led by Nabih Berri, who has been speaker of parliament since 1992. Amal also has close ties to Assad.

Supporters of the Shi'ite Amal movement wave flags during a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of the disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr, who was the founder and leader of the Amal movement in Lebanon, in Baalbeck, in the Bekaa valley August 31, 2011. Sadr, the founder of the Shi'ite Amal movement, disappeared with his two companions on a visit to Libya in 1978. REUTERS/ Ahmad Shalha (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Supporters of the Shi'ite Amal movement wave flags during a rally to mark the 33rd anniversary of the disappearance of Imam Musa al-Sadr, who was the founder and leader of the Amal movement in Lebanon, in Baalbeck, in the Bekaa valley August 31, 2011. Sadr, the founder of the Shi'ite Amal movement, disappeared with his two companions on a visit to Libya in 1978. REUTERS/ Ahmad Shalha (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Progressive Socialist Party

The PSP is led by Walid Jumblatt, the strongest figure in the Lebanese Druze minority. Jumblatt inherited his role from his assassinated father, Kamal, and was a prominent civil war leader. Jumblatt is in the process of handing authority to his son, Taymour, who is running in his place in the election.

A Lebanese Druze vendor displays Progressive Socialist Party flags and pictures of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt in a street in Aley June 6, 2009. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi (LEBANON ELECTIONS POLITICS)

A Lebanese Druze vendor displays Progressive Socialist Party flags and pictures of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt in a street in Aley June 6, 2009. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi (LEBANON ELECTIONS POLITICS)

Lebanese Forces

The LF led by Maronite Christian politician Samir Geagea emerged from a powerful civil war militia by the same name.

Geagea led the LF through the final years of the war after the 1982 assassination of Bashir Gemayel, its founder. Geagea, the only Lebanese militia leader to serve jail time over civil war violence, is the most significant Christian opponent of Hezbollah.

Supporters of Lebanon's leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea, carry his picture and wave flags during a rally held for the commemoration of the LF’s Lebanese Resistance Martyrs in Jouniyeh, north of Beirut, September 25, 2010. (Reuters)

Supporters of Lebanon's leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea, carry his picture and wave flags during a rally held for the commemoration of the LF’s Lebanese Resistance Martyrs in Jouniyeh, north of Beirut, September 25, 2010. (Reuters)

Kateab

The Kateab, also known as the Phalange Party, is led by Maronite Christian politician Sami Gemayel, who took over the leadership from his father, former President Amin Gemayel.

Sami Gemayel moved to the fore after the assassination of his brother, Pierre, in 2006 during a wave of killings targeting opponents of Syrian influence in Lebanon.

Lebanese Phalange supporters carry the coffins of their two killed comrades during a funeral in Zahle village in the Bekaa Valley, eastern Lebanon April 22, 2008. Gunmen shot dead two local officials of a Christian party which is also a member of Lebanon's ruling anti-Syrian coalition in eastern Lebanon, security sources said. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir (LEBANON)

Lebanese Phalange supporters carry the coffins of their two killed comrades during a funeral in Zahle village in the Bekaa Valley, eastern Lebanon April 22, 2008. Gunmen shot dead two local officials of a Christian party which is also a member of Lebanon's ruling anti-Syrian coalition in eastern Lebanon, security sources said. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir (LEBANON)

Marada movement

Marada is led by Maronite Christian politician Suleiman Franjieh, a close Hezbollah ally and a friend of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Hariri initially backed Franjieh for the presidency in 2016 but the deal did not gain wider backing. Instead, Hariri struck the deal that made Aoun head of state.

Lebanese Christian politician, MP and leader of the Marada movement Suleiman Franjieh walks into the parliament building, during the presidential elections in parliament, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

Lebanese Christian politician, MP and leader of the Marada movement Suleiman Franjieh walks into the parliament building, during the presidential elections in parliament, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52
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