Rahbeh is one of the largest Orthodox-majority towns in the Akkar Mohafaza. Two main lists ran for municipal office in the town, each headed by a notable figure with political and financial clout. The Lebanese Communist Party headed by Hanna Gharib, Rahbeh’s townsman and the LCP new Secretary General, proved to be the strongest player in the electoral contest.
There was no real competition in Rahbeh in 2010. In fact, the race for the town’s 15-seat council was won by quasi-acclamation as the list sponsored by former deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares and headed by his business manager Sajeeh Atieh included representatives of all political forces- the Free Patriotic Movement, the Phalanges, the Communist Party and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party- against a number of independent candidates that chose to run on familial grounds. The first list achieved a sweeping victory gaining an average of 1,250 votes or 62% of the total vote.
Quasi-acclamation morphed into a fierce electoral battle owing to the changing position and choices of the Communist Party which decided to confront Sajeeh Atieh’s list and the forces backing it. Thus, two lists were formed:
- The List of Rahbeh: a list headed by the Head of the Municipality and businessman Sajeeh Atieh and backed by the Free Patriotic Movement, the Phalanges, the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and former Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares.
- Reconciliation and Development List: a list headed by businessman Fadi Barbar and endorsed by the Lebanese Communist Party, supporters of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party and former MP Abdallah Hanna. This list won in its entirety.