Lebanon’s Amal Movement leader Nabih Berri was re-elected as the parliament speaker for the sixth time since 1992 with 98 votes in his favor, while 29 MPs cast a blank ballot and one was annulled, local reports said on Wednesday.
“I would like to give my deepest thanks to my fellow MPs for trusting me with the responsibility of heading this parliament for a sixth consecutive time,” Berri said during his speech immediately following his re-election.
Newly elected MPs had flooded downtown Beirut’s Nejmeh square Wednesday morning heading to the Parliament for their inaugural session to elect a speaker and deputy speaker, in one of the country’s initial stages of government formation following the recent parliamentary elections, Lebanon’s An-Nahar reported.
In parallel, MP Elie Ferzli, from President Michel Aoun Free Patriotic Movement’s parliamentary bloc, has been elected as deputy speaker tallying 80 votes, while 30 votes were cast in favor of Lebanese Forces MP Anis Nassar, 3 votes for MP Nicolas Nahhas, 1 for MP Paula Yaacoubian; 8 blank ballots were also cast alongside 2 annulled ones, the report said.
Ferzli enjoyed backing from his own FPM bloc of 29 members, as well as both Berri and Hezbollah’s blocs and their allies in the parliament.
Wednesday’s vote comes a day after the newly elected parliament began its four-year mandate, as the previous body’s nine-year term came to an end at midnight Monday.
On May 6, the Lebanese people voted for their favorite candidates competing for 128 parliamentary seats. Hezbollah and its political allies won more than half of the seats in the polls.