Armenian Bloc Candidate Wins in Lebanon Race

BOURDJ HAMMOUD–Lebanon (Aztag)–Elections in four electoral districts of mountainous Lebanon and two districts in northern part of the country were held Sunday–with United Armenian Bloc candidate Sebouh Hovnanian reclaiming victory in the Metn district.

Hovnanian was also part of deputy prime minister and interior minister Michel Murr’s electoral slate of candidates. Murr’s coalition overwhelmingly won seats in the six districts.

The Armenian electorate mainly voted in the northern Metn area–which include Tripoli–Batrouni and Jibeyl.

Although official results were scheduled to be announced Monday evening–preliminary polls indicated that the Armenian electorate overwhelmingly voted for the "Metn Coalition," headed by Murr and included Hovnanian.

The remaining Armenian Unity Bloc candidates are up for election on Sunday–September 3 when the second phase of the parliamentary polls will focus on districts in Beirut proper and surrounding areas.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation–with its affiliate organizations was actively involved in the election process–with its centers in Bourdj Hammoud–Antelias–Raouda and Tripoli overflowing with volunteers and voters.

Based on preliminary results–the Armenian electorate overwhelmingly voted for the United Armenian Bloc–once again proving the Lebanese-Armenian community’s will to rally behind national issues.

Several ARF centers also served as polling stations.

The elections weren’t without their share of incidents–with certain candidates attempting to sway Armenian votes through force. But–the Armenian community prevailed.

Around noon Sunday–parliamentary candidate Raffi Madeian-Howie visited polling stations in Bourdj Hammoud with his group of non-Armenian bodyguards–who through verbal harassment and threats attempted to sway Armenian voters–and in some instances wanted to take the balloting cards away from voters.

According to an announcement issued by the ARF information office–Madeian-Howie and his bodyguards "through verbal altercations and threats were attempting to pressure voters to let go of their voting ballots–in favor of their candidate."

In one instance–the information office reported–a verbal argument ensued between the bodyguards and polling district volunteers. The situation was quelled.

Other candidates also visited polling stations in Bourdj Hammoud–but no incidents were reported–since most kept their professional decorum.

Also ired by Madeian-Howie’s pressure tactics–interior minister Michel Murr issued an announcement condemning the candidate’s behavior and praising the people for not falling prey to pressures and threats.

"A candidate pointed a gun at another candidates’ representatives. This situation was quelled when a cellular phone was thrown at the gunman," said Murr in his announcement–describing an incident involving one of candidate Madeian-Howie’s bodyguards who pointed a gun at a volunteer in Bourdj Hammoud.

"The weak side is attempting to create commotion to deter voters from partaking in the elections," said Murr–referring to Median-Howie.

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