Berri re-elected as Lebanon speaker

Amal leader to serve fifth term after backing from politicians of rival coalition.

    Celebratory gunfire and fireworks were heard after Berri's re-election was announced [AFP]

    Berri was the only candidate for the position, which must be held by a Shia Muslim under the constitution, sharing the main political posts between Lebanon's main religious groups.

    'Political trade-off'

    Saad al-Hariri, the Sunni Muslim leader of the rival March 14 parliamentary bloc, was one of the politicians who backed Berri's return for a 17th year as speaker.

    Speaking after a meeting with Berri on Wednesday, he said that voting for the Amal leader was a decision that would "strengthen national unity and preserve civil peace".

    Hariri is expected to be named as Lebanon's next prime minister.

    "This is part of the political trade-off and this is usually equated with what we call the viability of social peace and political concord," Charles Chartouni of Georgetown University told Al Jazeera.

    March 14 held on to its parliamentary majority in a general election on June 7, defeating an opposition alliance that included Berri's Amal and the Hezbollah movement, as well as other parties.

    Berri was accused of paralysing the previous government for 18 months after five Shia ministers resigned from cabinet in November 2006.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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