BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil said after the parliamentary session on Tuesday, in which Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri was re-elected, that his party’s stance on the vote was known and that the party’s MPs did not vote for Berri but “put a blank ballot,” the state-run National News Agency reported.
Here’s what we know:
• Commenting about the fact that FPM MP Elias Bou Saab was elected deputy speaker and that FPM MP Alain Aoun was elected a Parliament secretary, Bassil said that “this doesn’t mean that we have the majority [in Parliament], and the days will prove that the majority is something variable and there should be a reduction of deals and compromises.” The number of MPs in the newly elected Parliament that support the FPM or its allies, including Hezbollah and Amal, has dropped. Unlike in the previous Parliament, the alliance is now without the certainty that it can secure a voting majority in the chamber.
• Earlier today, Berri for the seventh time secured the Parliament speaker seat with the minimum required votes — 65 — on the first round of a secret ballot. It was the lowest ever tally of votes for Berri in a speaker election. He has held the post since 1992.