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Lebanon Votes in Parliamentary Elections


Voters in southern Lebanon are casting ballots today-Sunday in the second stage of the country's first parliamentary election since emerging from 30 years of Syrian dominance.

The Shi'ite Muslim militant group, Hezbollah, and its more moderate pro-Syrian ally, Amal, are expected to easily win all 23 seats up for grabs in the region.

Analysts say Hezbollah hopes to bolster its political influence in parliament as it resists a UN Security Council resolution demanding it disarm.

The staunchly anti-Israel Hezbollah-considered a terrorist organization by the United States had been operating in southern Lebanon with strong backing from the Syrian military, which occupied the Israeli border region until recently.

Lebanon's parliamentary election is taking place in four stages. The final two stages will be held over the next two Sundays. Voters in the capital, Beirut, voted last week with anti-Syrian candidates winning most of the 19 seats.

Information for this report is provided by AFP and Reuters.

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