Los Angeles Times

Amid warnings about vote buying, Lebanon holds first parliamentary elections in nearly a decade

BEIRUT - At first glance, the political poster appears to declare a cynical message: "Things are not going to change."

But look closer, and you'll find a slash over the "not." The poster, adorning a grungy wall in Beirut's eastern district, then exhorts voters to cast ballots in Lebanon's parliamentary elections Sunday, the country's first in almost a decade.

The possibility of change - or lack thereof - has become the central theme of this election season.

Contenders disparage the status quo every chance they get, whether they're decades-old groups, such as the Lebanese Forces party (which adopted "the pulse of change" as its main slogan) or scrappy first-time challengers, such as Paula Yacoubian (a

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