x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Berri re-elected as parliament speaker

Nabih Berri is re-elected to a fifth consecutive term as Lebanon's parliament speaker.

Nabih Berri was re-elected to a fifth consecutive term as parliament speaker today, consolidating his position as one of Lebanon's most influential politicians. The Shiite leader was elected by 90 out of 128 votes to enter his 17th straight year as speaker. Twenty-eight legislators cast blank ballots. "Those who cast blank ballots today I am sure will re-elect me in four years," Mr Berri said in his acceptance speech as celebratory gunfire broke out across Beirut.

A former pro-Syrian militia chief who has held a pivotal role in post-civil war Lebanon, Mr Berri was first elected house speaker in 1992, and then again in 1996 and 2000. In 2005 and now again in 2009, Mr Berri has maintained his post as head of Lebanon's parliament under a Sunni-led, US-backed majority following legislative elections. *AFP