Political parties and influential local figures are busy announcing candidate lists and convincing independent candidates to withdraw in time for this weekend’s municipal by-elections to allow candidate tickets to win unopposed. The last-minute negotiations continued to bear fruit, as a village in Batroun became the latest to see its polls cancelled Sunday because of last-minute withdrawals. In Yater in Bint Jbeil, Hezbollah and Amal are trying to convince independent candidates to drop out, to prevent a repeat of the tension that resulted during the last round in 2010, when party supporters failed to adhere to the Amal-Hezbollah ticket, allowing a number of independent candidates to win office. The deal for Sunday’s poll involves nine seats on the parties’ list going to Amal and the other six to Hezbollah, with Amal receiving the mayor’s post and Hezbollah the deputy mayor’s. During the earlier round, 11 Hezbollah members won office, along with four from the rival ticket.
In Tyre, the villages of Alma Shaab and Tayr Harfa saw the declaration of rival lists Thursday. In Alma Shaab, a Christian village, two lists will do battle on Sunday, featuring alliances of members of various families. In Tayr Harfa, Amal and Hezbollah in alliance with local families are backing one list, which will be challenged by a nonpartisan list. The two parties are predicting a crushing victory, while their challengers maintain that they will be able to achieve a few victories on the 12-person council. Meanwhile, in the Aley municipality of Abey-Ain Drafil, a candidate list was announced for the polls, which are set to be held for the first time since 1963, since earlier rounds failed to take place because a return of the Civil War-displaced had yet to be completed.