Billboards of varying shapes and sizes, featuring all sorts of exuberant slogans, have taken over the streets of Lebanon as the nation awaits its long-overdue parliamentary elections.
Lebanese nationals will hit the polls on May 6 to determine their 128 representatives in parliament after a nine-year deadlock.
Here's what you need to know about the upcoming elections:
1. This will mark the first parliamentary election since 2009
The Lebanese last had the opportunity to cast their votes in 2009, after which the current parliament unilaterally extended its mandate three times for various reasons, such as the war in neighboring Syria and disagreements regarding electoral reform.
However, in June 2017, the parliament passed a new electoral law, allowing the first national elections in almost a decade to take place this May.
2. The new law introduced the first proportional representation system in Lebanon's history
Despite objections from civil society activists, the new law preserves the sectarian allocation of seats in parliament, which remain distributed among the country's various Muslim and Christian sects.
Parliamentary seats were previously distributed using a majoritarian system, where the seats are allocated according to a winner-takes-all model. Under the new law, political groups will still put up a block candidate list, but seats are allocated proportionally.
The country will now be divided into 15 major electoral districts, rather than the previous 26.
The number of members of parliament as well as the term period remain the same under the new law, standing at 128 seats and four years, respectively.
3. Each voter will select one list of allied candidates
Each voter will select one list of candidates along with one candidate from the list as a preferential vote.
"The percentage of votes a list receives will determine how many candidates on that list will win one of that districts designated seats in parliament. Whichever individual candidates take these seats will in turn be determined by the number of preferential votes they receive," according to The Daily Star.
Several online initiatives have been launched to help voters make an educated decision. For instance, Beirut-based tech firm, TEDMOB, has launched a mobile app titled "Know Your Candidate," allowing citizens to learn more about candidates and even directly contact them.
4. The new law was met with protests
While many Lebanese had been hoping for a new electoral law that would change the status quo, the result was widely considered as disappointing.
The new law was actually met with protesters rallying outside parliament to denounce the law.
Among other arguments, opponents cited the "lack of quotas for female candidates, the lax campaign-financing regulations, and the absence of an independent commission to supervise the elections," according to the New Yorker.
Political analyst, Paul Mancos, told Al Jazeera at the time that the law is a "step forward, but not enough in order to have real and fair representation."
5. Lebanese expats were allowed to vote for the first time
In a national first, the new law enables Lebanese living abroad to cast their votes at embassies or consulates in their respective locations.
Lebanese expatriates all over the world have already voted from abroad over the weekend. However, results of the overseas voting will not be released until the general parliamentary elections are finalized.
6. A national record of 111 women are running for parliament
Officials failed to pass a women's quota law, which would have guaranteed women's voice in parliament. However, this has not fazed Lebanon's aspiring female MPs.
In fact, this year's elections have seen the highest number of female candidates in Lebanon's history, with 111 women registered to run in the elections out of 976 candidates in total.
7. Public institutions will close for a four-day weekend
Prime Minister Saad Hariri has issued an administrative memo calling on all public institutions to suspend operations on May 4 and May 7 to facilitate the electoral process.