Lebanon’s new parliament holds first session, re-elects Berri as speaker

Lebanese lawmakers have re-elected Nabih Berri as parliament lawmakers as they convened for the first session of the legislative chamber since the May 6 elections.

Berri was running unopposed for the post of parliament speaker reserved for a Shia in Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system, under which prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim and president a Maronite Christian.

In a statement, Berri’s office had demanded supporters to avoid celebratory gunfire after the veteran politician’s re-election.

On May 6, Lebanon held its first parliamentary election in nine years. The vote had been delayed three times since 2009 due to the crisis in neighboring Syria as well as disagreement over the country’s new electoral law.

Lebanon’s Interior Ministry put the voter turnout at 49.2 percent.

Berri’s Amal Movement, which is closely aligned with the Hezbollah resistance movement, won 13 seats at the Lebanese legislature.

Hezbollah together with allied groups and individuals managed to secure at least 70 of the parliament’s 128 seats in the election.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah declared a “great political and moral victory for the resistance option that protects the sovereignty of the country.”

After the appointment of the parliament speaker, President Michel Aoun will consult lawmakers about the post of prime minister, with Saad Hariri widely expected to be named premier again.

Hariri’s Future Movement lost over a third of its parliamentary seats in the election.

Lebanese news outlet al-Jadeed quoted Hariri as saying on Tuesday that a decision had been taken “to accelerate government formation.”


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