BEIRUT — Prominent Sunni political and religious figures elected the 24 members of the Higher Sunni Council, Dar al-Fatwa's legislative body, Sunday, a process overseen by Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, whose mandate was extended in early September by the outgoing members.
In Beirut, Mohammad Makaoui, Wassim Mogharbel, Ziad Saheb, AbdelHamid Taki, Mazen Sharbaji, Talal Beydoun, Abdallah Chahine and Fouad Zrad were elected.
The seven seats in North Lebanon are now occupied by Fayez Moustafa Seif, Bilal Baraka, Ahmad Abdel Amin, Mazhar Hamoui, Oussama Trad, Mounzer Hamza and Wael Zamerli.
Kifah al-Ksar was elected in Akkar.
In Saida, south Lebanon, Abdel Halim Zein, Moufaq Rawas and Fayed Baasrini were elected by acclamation. Nazih Hamad was also elected by acclamation in Hasbaya/Marjayoun district.
In Mount Lebanon, Hamza Sharafeddine and Ra'if Abdallah garnered the most votes.
Mohammad Ajmi and Younes Abdel Razak were elected in the Bekaa, .
According to the state-run National News Agency the elections, whose start in Beirut and the North was somewhat delayed, concluded at 1:00 p.m. It was
For the first time since former Prime Minister Saad Hariri succeeded his father Rafik as leader of the Sunni community, he did not participate in the elections. Hariri has been absent from Lebanon's political scene since last year.
A 'transparent' ballot
"The election of the Higher Sunni Council confirms that we respect the laws to allow our institutions, which are an integral part of the state, to be restored," said Derian, who assured those present that the election took place "with complete transparency."
"Dar al-Fatwa will remain a body of balance, mediation, and openness and will continue to oversee the unity of Muslims and Lebanese," he added.
Only sheikhs, deputies, ministers, judges and municipal councilors of the Sunni confession were called upon to vote, along with the current prime minister and his (living) predecessors. The bulk of the battle took place in the two major Sunni cities: Beirut (eight seats) and Tripoli and its suburbs (seven seats). Elected council members will work alongside eight members appointed by Derian as well as former prime ministers and the current outgoing prime minister.