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Lebanese Americans vote in parliamentary elections

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Lebanese Americans began voting Sunday in the first parliamentary elections held by Lebanon in nine years. The historic occasion marks the first time Lebanese citizens are allowed to vote abroad.

Sunday’s vote in 33 countries comes two days after Lebanese expatriates voted in six Arab countries.

According to the state-run Lebanese National News Agency, 82,970 Lebanese expatriates are registered to vote around the world. Australia has the largest number of registered voters with 11,826.

Canada has 11,438, followed by the United States with about 10,000, the news agency added.

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Metro Detroit, home to one of the largest populations of Lebanese Americans in the U.S., established three polling locations in Michigan for expatriates to vote. Registration was required in advance, officials said.

The Detroit Consulate, which handles consular duties for 13 other states, also established one polling location in Ohio, one location in Minnesota and one in Illinois.

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Voting inside Lebanon will be held next Sunday.

According to the Consulate, Lebanese citizens eligible to vote need to bring a Lebanese ID, a valid Lebanese passport or a recently renewed or issued temporary passport.

In South America, thousands of Lebanese citizens are also expected to cast their ballots Sunday. Leila Smidi, a mother of four living in Brazil, said she feels closer to her native land after voting.

“Today’s voting is very important because for the first time we will have a voice in Lebanese affairs,” Smidi, who has lived in Brazil for 11 years, told the Associated Press.

Lebanon’s current legislature has extended its own term several times, citing security threats in Syria.

WATCH: How Lebanese Expatriates Vote:

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