Lebanon will hold its first parliamentary elections for nine years on 6 May next year, the country’s interior minister said on Friday.
The date was formally decreed by Nohad Machnouk (pictured), after three previously planned votes were passed by. The last elections took place in 2009, and attempts to hold elections since then have been postponed on the grounds of security, political crisis and disagreements over election laws.
The vote was first announced in June by prime minister Saad Hariri, but officials have spent a large amount of time since then registering voters and debating organisational details for the poll.
It is set to be the first Lebanese election to allow votes by non-resident citizens in other countries. They will vote on 22 and 28 April.
The diaspora vote could see 1.2 million people added to the electoral register.
The vote comes after a turbulent year for Lebanese politics. Hariri resigned on 4 November while in Riyadh, before almost vanishing for several weeks, raising concerns he was being detained by Saudi Arabia, his key ally. He returned to Beirut on 22 November and overturned his resignation statement.
Hariri and Saudi Arabia blamed the situation on Hezbollah, a member of the ruling coalition, which they say has been interfering in the region.
Their condemnation of Iran for intervening in countries such as Yemen and Syria came as Saudi Arabia continued its war on Yemen, which has killed more than 10,000 people and resulted in a cholera epidemic and fear of famine.