Nabih Berri elected President of the Lebanese Parliament for the seventh consecutive time

On Tuesday, the Lebanese parliament elected Nabih Berri as its president for the seventh consecutive time, in the first session of the new parliament, which, following the recent parliamentary elections, includes patchy blocs, none of which enjoys an absolute majority.

The election of 84-year-old Berri, the longest-serving president of parliament in the Arab world and the most likely in the world, comes after a series of crises in Lebanon in recent years, including an accelerated economic collapse, unprecedented popular protests against the authority, and a catastrophic explosion in the port of Beirut.

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The recent parliamentary elections, which took place on May 15th, allowed for the arrival in Parliament of at least 13 independent deputies, including doctors, lawyers, engineers and university professors, who emerged from the demonstrations of 17 October 2019 calling for the overthrow of all the traditional political class. Despite this, Berri, a staunch ally of Hezbollah, managed to garner enough votes to remain at the helm of parliament.

Berri got 65 votes out of a total of 128 MPs, against 23 blank cards and 40 null cards. He was the only candidate for the presidency of parliament, which in Lebanon belongs to the Shiite sect, because Hezbollah and the Amal movement led by Berri have won the total of 27 Shiite parliamentary seats in parliament.

At the beginning of the counting, a state of pandemonium prevailed, after Berri’s failure to read the ballot papers, which contained some sentences deemed invalid. A number of MPs, including independents, opposed this before Berri returned and agreed to read it publicly. Some of them said: “Justice for the victims of the port explosion”, referring to the obstruction of the investigation into the port explosion which occurred on August 4, 2020, and “Justice for depositors”, referring to the financial collapse and detention of Lebanese deposits in banks and “Luqman Selim”. The activist opposed to Hezbollah, assassinated, without the perpetrators of the crime having been revealed so far, and The Strong Republic.

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In a symbolic move that preceded the session, the independent representatives joined the families of the victims of the explosion of the port of Beirut, which killed more than two hundred people. in a march to the sound of songs of “revolution, revolution” starting from the port, passing through Piazza dei Martiri, the cradle of the 2019 events, to the Parliament building in the center of Beirut.

In a speech following his election, Berri affirmed his respect for the election results. He said, “I will follow any constructive opinion or criticism, and throw any insult behind me, and we will meet the White Paper with a white heart and sincere intentions, and a hand extended to all with sincere cooperation in order to save Lebanon.”

He called on the 128 deputies to work together to “achieve in time the constitutional benefits “and to prevent” a vacuum in any authority “.