Suleiman Franjieh, the Lebanese Economy Minister, was elected the country's new President at a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies on Monday evening (17 August).
Suleiman Franjieh, the Lebanese Economy Minister, was elected the country's new President at a meeting of the Chamber of Deputies on Monday evening (17 August). He will replace President Charles Helou when he is sworn-in on 23rd September.
The election result was a shock to the mainly Moslem Nahjist block.... which has held power for the past 12 years... but source of delight to Beirut's Christian Community. Franjieh was elected at a turbulent Parliamentary Session after his slender 50-49 vote win was at first declared invalid. After deliberation the Speaker decided the ballot was legal and in order. His opponent was Elias Sarkis, Governor of the Central Bank.
Although considered a man of the "Centre", suleiman Franjieh was helped to victory by support from both far-left and right-wing votes. A Deputy with a wide Ministerial experience, he has made few enemies in Lebanon's rather stormy political life. Mr. Franjieh switched from business to politics in 1960 when he entered the Chamber of Deputies. During the past decade his portfolios have also included Post & Telegraphs, Agriculture, the Interior, Justice, and Public Works. He will continue as Minister of Economy until his swearing-in ceremony.
Following the Tuesday night election, jubilant supporters gave vent to their feelings with a volley of rifle-fire over the heads of the Chamber, before racing noisily through the city streets.