Lebanon sets date for first legislative elections since 2009
Lebanon has announced that it will hold its first legislative elections in nearly a decade, with a vote on the new parliament set for 6 May 2018, the country's interior minister said.
Nohad Machnouk signed a decree on Friday setting the date for the parliamentary vote, which has been postponed three times since legislative elections last took place in 2009.
Politicians had cited security concerns, political crisis, and a dispute over the election law for postponing the vote.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government agreed on a new election law in June but setting a date has been held up while officials debated technical details and registered Lebanese citizens abroad.
More than 90,000 Lebanese citizens living abroad registered to vote last month in the country's first ever parliamentary election that allowed non-resident citizens to vote from their country of residence.
Machnouk said Lebanese citizens abroad would be able to vote on 22 and 28 April.
The Lebanese diaspora population of 4 to 6 million likely outnumbers Lebanon's domestic citizen population of just over 4 million, but only some 1.2 million diaspora members are thought to have maintained citizenship
Hariri shocked the nation with his resignation in a televised broadcast from Saudi Arabia last month, citing Hizballah's meddling in regional affairs as a main reason for stepping down.
Speculation had swirled around the detention of Hariri - who is a Saudi citizen and grew up in the kingdom - after spending two weeks holed up in Riyad after he resigned.
Hariri eventually returned to Beirut on 22 November and postponed his resignation.