Nasrallah tackles upcoming votes in Shiite suburbs of Beirut

The Hezbollah chief called on supporters in Dahiyeh to vote for joint lists formed by his party alongside Amal and the FPM.

Nasrallah. (AFP/Al-Manar)

BEIRUT – Hezbollah’s chief has called on supporters to once again support slates of candidates backed by the party in Lebanon’s local municipal elections, this time in the Shiite-populated suburbs of Beirut which will vote Sunday.


Independent candidates have formed electoral lists in Ghobeiry, the richest part of the sprawling Dahiyeh area south of the capital, as well as in the densely-populated Bourj al-Barajneh quarter, a lower-income area that includes a Palestinian refugee camp.


These two campaigns, the “Ghobeiry for Everybody” and “Our Heart for Bourj al-Barajneh,” are facing off against a unified electoral lists formed by Hezbollah, its Shiite ally the Amal Movement, and its main Christian ally the Free Patriotic Movement, which still counts on a number of supporters technically registered to vote in the once-Christian populated area.


“We call on our people in the upcoming stage to participate effectively and support the [joint] Development, Loyalty and Reform lists,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech televised Thursday during a ceremony honoring wounded Hezbollah fighters.


The Hezbollah leader made sure to hail local opponents to the establishment candidates, calling them “our beloved and friends” who support the Shiite party.


“We must reach an understanding with them,” he added in a conciliatory tone.


Last Sunday, Hezbollah and Amal defeated independent challengers in Baalbek and other towns in the Bekaa Valley during the first round of the municipal elections, which will continue until the end of May.


Nasrallah did not directly address the strong showing put on by the Baalbek Madinati (Baalbek is My City) list in Sunday’s vote, instead thanking Hezbollah’s supporters for their vote while insisting the municipal councils in the Bekaa will strive toward meeting resident’s needs.


“We must address any misgiving from this point on for the next six years,” he added, in reference to mounting complaints over local governance and civic issues in areas where Hezbollah has a strong presence.


Last Friday, Nasrallah issued a rallying cry for Hezbollah supporters to vote for the joint-lists backed by his party. His call comes amid heightened Hezbollah media efforts to drive out a favorable vote in the municipal elections, the first such time the party has done so in its history.


Nasrallah also tackled last week’s voting in Zahle and Beirut, saying that his party stayed out of the electoral machinations in order to avoid complicating political considerations.


In Lebanon’s capital, where a list of major parties led by the Future Movement edged out the Beirut Madinati list, Nasrallah said that he did not want to join in with rivals of his party, even though his ally the FPM was part of the joint list.


He added that Hezbollah had friends among the three rival lists in the Zahle municipal vote, which was won by a slate of candidates supported by the Free Patriotic Movement, Kataeb and Lebanese Forces.

Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. (AFP/Al-Manar)

We call on our people in the upcoming stage to participate effectively and support the [joint] Development, Loyalty and Reform lists.