Beirut -

Inside his small shop, the Lebanese Ahmed Kabbara bends his back to pack vegetables, which have become the price of meat, as he puts it, and waits for customers to cross from Tariq al-Jadeeda in Beirut, where he has been working for 40 years.

The man who has lived through decades of the phases of his region realizes that the economic crisis is the result of many collapses that deepened their despair and the feeling of alienation within their region and their country.

We ask him about his position on the parliamentary elections on May 15, 2022, and he quickly responds, "I'm interrupting."

Here in Tariq Al-Jadida, loyalty to the Future Movement and its leader Saad Hariri intensifies, specifically after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. A giant picture of the father's companion and Saad the son hangs between its buildings, engraved with the phrase "He follows behind what died."

A street away from it, we notice another picture of Saad Hariri, forgotten from the days of his famous assignment, which lasted about 9 months without forming the government, and signed with the trio slogan "The Light of Lebanon is commissioned by you."

The Future Movement acquires in Tariq Al-Jadida a unique significance that is not related to service and development offerings, but rather because it filled a political vacuum in a region that expresses its affiliation with Saad Hariri as the heir to Rafic Hariri.

And in the fateful moments of polarization that Lebanon witnessed after 2005 and that led to its separation between the 8 and 14 March camps, and the ensuing unrest that culminated in the events of May 7, 2008, which almost dragged the country into civil and sectarian strife, the people of Tariq al-Jadeeda used to chant the slogan “God, Hariri, the path of God.” This was an automatic response to a slogan against the people of the southern suburbs calling out, “God, Nasrallah, and the entire suburb.”

The slogan "God, Hariri, New Road" came in response to the slogans of the southern suburbs (Al-Jazeera Net)

Historically, Tariq al-Jadeeda was one of the strongholds of the Palestinian factions, and its walls during the civil war and the Israeli invasion of Beirut in 1982 were shaded by pictures of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Yasser Arafat.

Its municipal stadium, which witnessed intense matches between the football teams of "Al-Ansar" (supported by most of the people of Beirut, where the influence of the future) and "Najma" (supported by most of the people of the suburb where the influence of Hezbollah), was like a podium for a debate that echoed in its stands with echoes of these and other slogans. It has become a part of the region's memory and its political discourse industry.

However, the content of this discourse has dissipated in recent years, and other conflicts taking place on the threshold of the elections have advanced into the orbit of sectarian, political and regional balances, and the new road appears as a region where all forms of wars, conflicts and political movements have ended, as expressed by her son, the vegetable seller.

Here, Ahmed Kabbara sympathizes with "our martyr Rafik Hariri," and tells Al Jazeera Net, "The moment of his assassination was a political assassination for his project and for the role of the Sunni community, its sons and regions in Lebanon, as if its history stopped on February 14, 2005, and then we paid the price for Saad Hariri's settlements with his opponents."

He believes that a large segment is not boycotting the elections for the sake of Saad Hariri only, "but because we have been abandoned since his father died, and our political struggle has not made any progress for our role and presence within the Lebanese equation."

If the scene of "Tariq al-Jadida" suggests a boycott of the elections in line with Hariri's suspension of his political and electoral work, the reality does not apply to other Sunni-majority regions, neither in Beirut nor in the south nor in the north.

Fouad Makhzoumi seeks progress in the absence of Hariri in Beirut II (Al Jazeera Net)

Battle of Beirut

In Beirut’s second district, where the Sunni majority is, 9 electoral lists are competing, including 3 that embody traditional forces, and 6 that represent civil society forces and bear the slogan of change. for the Sunni community in Lebanon.

This constituency has 11 parliamentary seats, 6 of which are reserved for the Sunni sect.

Its electoral vitality is evident from Ras Beirut to Ain al-Marisa, Mina al-Hosn, Zkak al-Blat, al-Murfa, al-Bashoura, al-Mazraa and al-Musaytbeh, and most of its neighborhoods are invaded by giant banners through which the competing forces seek to attract Sunni votes and warn against boycotting the elections.

For example, the “Beirut Facing” list backed by former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora raises several slogans, including “Your vote for May 15 falls, May 7” and “Beirut will return,” as a correction of the battle against Hezbollah, and urges voters to vote with the saying “Your vote is a duty.”

So does the list of "Beirut needs a heart" supported by MP Fouad Makhzoumi, who is seeking progress in the absence of Hariri, and his list raises slogans, including "Our silence has sold Beirut once more."

In the same constituency, the Association of Islamic Projects (Al-Ahbash) enjoys a wide coverage, and is considered a major ally of Hezbollah through its deputy, Adnan Trabelsi, who formed the "Beirut" list. Observers believe that thousands of Sunni votes in Beirut are in their interest.

While some civil society regulations seek to take advantage of the opposition situation in Beirut II, and to attract Sunni voters to it to register a breach in one of the seats, foremost of which is the "Beirut Change" list.

In one of the shops in Beirut, the Lebanese Maher Qabbani told Al Jazeera Net, "I will vote for whomever I see fit. We must vote and not be affected by calls for boycott, because our vote is fateful in the elections."

Pictures of Presidents Rafik and Saad Hariri in Sidon, southern Lebanon (Al-Jazeera)

Sidon battle

Southern Sidon, from which Prime Minister Rafic Hariri hails, is a historical stronghold for the Future Movement since its founding in the 1990s.

After Hariri's assassination, the current's weight in the city was embodied, not by its leader Saad Hariri, but by his aunt Bahia Hariri, who is a representative of one of his Sunni seats alongside MP Osama Saad.

So far, many believe that the head of the Future Parliamentary Bloc, Bahia Hariri, despite her reluctance to run, in line with Hariri's decision, is still a difficult figure in Sidon, given her popularity that she gained by attending various events and providing services to the people of her region.

Sons of Sidon speak to Al Jazeera Net about an electoral movement that has intensified in recent weeks, and a large segment deals with the absence of the future as a fait accompli, as Sidon is witnessing a wide spread of electoral banners, without the absence of pictures of Presidents Rafik and Saad Hariri.


Some believe that the battle of Sidon is about who will win Bahia Hariri's seat, without this meaning winning her popular status.

Sidon is a caza within the first district of the South, and it has two seats for Sunnis, in addition to 3 seats in Jezzine within the same district (two Maronite seats and one Roman Catholic seat).

In it, about 12 candidates compete for two seats for the Sunni sect, and they are candidates within 7 lists, including a list supported by the duo of Hezbollah and the Amal movement, "Moderation is our strength", and about 4 lists on civil society.

In one of these two seats, the “We Vote for Change” list, headed by MP Osama Saad, is ahead. The fate of the second seat appears ambiguous in the absence of Bahia Hariri’s candidacy, while the candidate Youssef Al-Naqeeb, who was head of her electoral machine, formed a list in alliance with the Lebanese Forces Party.

Bahia Hariri did not announce a negative or positive position regarding the participation of the sons of Sidon, nor did she officially support any list, and many of her supporters are waiting for her password, whether in terms of calling for a boycott, voting or adhering to a neutral position.

Pictures of candidates in a street in Tripoli (Al-Jazeera Net)

Battle of the North

North Lebanon summarizes the climax of the conflict between the traditional and civil political poles over the "Sunni voice" after the absence of the future from the electoral contest. Tripoli, which did not wake up from the tragedy of the sinking of the "death boat" and the loss of at least 23 passengers at the bottom of the sea, pictures of candidates sweep its streets and buildings.

In Al-Tal Square, we ask the Lebanese, Muhammad Al-Ali, about his position on the elections, and he answers in confusion, “I feel lost, and I see pictures of candidates I do not know. Nobody after the elections.

Along the road to Akkar governorate and its villages, giant pictures of the candidates appear on the columns and rooftops, and some villages are not without pictures of Presidents Rafik and Saad Hariri.

However, Akkar, which historically embodies the popular reservoir of the Future Movement, has family and village considerations advanced in a way that makes boycotting the elections an unwelcome option for a large segment of its leaders and sons.

On the Minieh road towards Akkar, pictures of candidates appear, not without pictures of Presidents Rafik and Saad Hariri (Al Jazeera Net)

Here, the battle of the Sunni-dominated areas revolves in the first and second northern districts: the first north includes the various towns and villages of Akkar, and 8 lists compete for 7 seats, including 3 seats for the Sunni sect, and the second north includes the districts of Tripoli, Minieh and Dinnieh, and the largest number of lists in Lebanon was recorded, reaching 11 A list of 100 candidates competing for 11 seats, including five Sunni seats in Tripoli, one in Miniyeh, and two in Denniye.

What distinguishes these two constituencies is that most of the political forces are waging a fierce electoral battle in which, according to observers, it revolves in depth to attract voters from the Sunni sect.

In both of them, lists comprising veterans of the Future Movement, one supported by Prime Minister Siniora, another by the Lebanese Forces Party and others by the Marada Movement, and another in Akkar supported by the Free Patriotic Movement, are competing, in addition to two lists supported by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and other lists formed by Hezbollah allies at the forefront. The list of representatives Faisal Karami and Jihad Al-Samad and others, in addition to many lists emanating from civil society.

Therefore, many believe that the results of the elections in the north will entail much of the future of this region, which suffers from exceptional political and security circumstances, in addition to its pivotal role in determining the nature of Sunni representation in Parliament, and the balance of power in it between the various poles of the battle, which prompts the monitoring of the electoral behavior of supporters of the current The future is in it, as in Beirut, Sidon and others.

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