BEIRUT — Newly elected Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Bou Saab assured Wednesday that his election, as well as that of the re-elected Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, was not the result of an “agreement,” stating that this accusation is the product of the “the imagination of its inciters.”
Here’s what we know:
• In an interview with Sawt El Mada radio station, Bou Saab of the Free Patriotic Movement added that “if those who voted for Berri had voted for me, I would have gotten more votes.” Several political observers believe the Amal Movement and the FPM to have devised a compromise to ensure Berri and Bou Saab were elected to their respective positions during Tuesday’s inaugural session of Lebanon’s new Parliament.
• MP Kassem Hashem, who is affiliated with the FPM, admitted to a reporter with the news outlet Sawt Beirut International on Tuesday that his party did in fact give votes to Nabih Berri, helping him get re-elected as speaker, in exchange for votes granted by the Amal Movement to Bou Saab, who won his position with 65 votes in the second round of voting.
• The elected representative added that “the role of the vice president is very important because he chairs the joint parliamentary committees who pass laws.”
• Earlier in the day, Walid Joumblatt, the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party, blamed the “defeat” of the new majority in Parliament on “inept coordination,” following Bou Saab’s win against independent MP Ghassan Skaff, who expected to garner support from the Lebanese Forces, PSP and the Kataeb Party.