The protests were fuelled by the February 14 assassination of former five-time billionaire prime minister Hariri, whose death in a massive bomb blast along with 19 others was blamed on Syria and its allies in Lebanon.

Vowing to pursue Hariri’s ambitious political and economic reform, the opposition hit the election trail, with calls for unity to build a modern Lebanon, free of rigid sectarian politics and corruption.

“The opposition used Hariri’s assassination to get elected and win people over. They will never be united because there are too many religious factions, and the truth of it is each one hates the other,” said Hamad Jabak.

Haggling over election boundaries fractured the opposition, reviving tensions and threatening the delicate coexistence among Lebanon’s Christian and Muslim communities.

“History is repeating itself,” said Marie-Therese Ghiyeh, 24.

Politics in Lebanon has always been a family business, with little or no room for newcomers, and the 1975-1990 civil war brought in a string of heavyweights and warlords whose influence is still strong.

“I refuse to vote for the symbols of the war,” said Salibi.

A survey conducted by the weekly student newspaper of the American University of Beirut (AUB) a few weeks after Hariri’s assassination, showed mitigated support for the opposition.

Out of 600 students polled, 37 percent said they did not trust the opposition while 44 percent said they did.

“Thirty-seven percent is more than one third of the student body. And one third is a lot, so the opposition cannot ignore it,”  said staff writer Lynn Zovighian, 18.

Like many youths in Beirut, she firmly believes Lebanon “lacks a sense of direction” and that the opposition has failed to come up with a concrete platform because they speak in too many tongues.

“I don’t trust them any more,” added Rouba Maarawi, 21.

During a group chat with soon-to-be graduates at the Lebanese University’s faculty of human sciences, students laid down their demands. “We want democracy, honesty, rule of law, and real independence this time,” one said.

For Magda Abu Fadil, director of the Institute for Professional Journalists at the Lebanese American University, the Lebanese opposition has failed the youth.

“One would have hoped that politicians matured. But they continue to be inconsistent and this is unsettling in many ways because they are putting personal interests ahead of the common good,” she said.