Lebanon’s lawmakers have re-elected the Shi’ite leader and pro Hezbollah politician, Nabih Berri to a fifth consecutive term as parliamentary speaker.
The ballot in which he took 90 of the possible 128 votes extends his 17-year leadership of the chamber and underlines the improved ties between rival politicians. After the result, Berri told MPs that he called on the Lebanese and himself to benefit from favourable regional and international developments in order to consolidate peace and stability. Although the position of speaker is reserved for a Shi’ite Muslim according to the sectarian power-sharing system in the country, even one of his main opponents during last years political crisis, Sunni Muslim, Saad al-Hariri backed him. Hariri, whose pro-Western“March 14” coalition won a parliamentary majority earlier this month, is the front-runner to head the new unity government. His decision to back Berri who through his Hezbollah links is pro Syrian, is seen as Hariri favouring stability over political point scoring. It is also a sign of improved ties bwteen Syria and Saudi Arabia as it is their rivalry has been viewed as a major cause of the country’s crises in recent years.