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Lebanon parliament re-elects Berri as speaker

May 23, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Shia politician Nabih Berri, a close ally of the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, was re-elected for a sixth term as speaker of Lebanon’s parliament in an uncontested vote today, Reuters reported.

Another Hezbollah ally, Elie Ferzli, was elected deputy speaker.

Results of 2018 parliamentary elections in Lebanon [Reuters]

Hezbollah and its allies won at least 70 of parliament’s 128 seats in a 6 May election. The result was a reversal of Lebanon’s last general election in 2009, when anti-Hezbollah groups won a majority.

Berri won the votes of 98 of 128 MPs. After being reappointed as speaker, a role he has held since 1992, he called for a new government to be formed as soon as possible.

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Saad Hariri, who headed the outgoing cabinet, is expected to be premier again and faces tough negotiations to form a coalition government including all the main parties. He will lead a caretaker government until the new cabinet is agreed.

Berri, 80, heads the Amal Movement and has been allied with Hezbollah since the end of Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war.

Hariri, an opponent of Hezbollah, had declared support for the re-election of Berri as speaker, a post reserved for Shias in Lebanon’s sectarian power sharing system.