• Short Summary

    The Lebanese parliament met in Beirut on Saturday (8 May) and elected a Christian, Mr.?

  • Description

    The Lebanese parliament met in Beirut on Saturday (8 May) and elected a Christian, Mr. Elias Sarkis as the country's new president. As the vote was taking place inside the parliament building a barrage of mortar shells was being launched outside by left-wing militias.

    In a bid to stop the election of a new president to replace right-wing President Suleiman Franjieh leftists build barricades of boulders and blazing tyres across the main roads leading to the parliament building.

    Throughout Moslem west Beirut, where the Lebanese left has its main support, gunfire crackled in another apparent attempt to disrupt the parliamentary election, which the left claims is being held under pressure from neighbouring Syria.

    Mr. Sarkis, who is the governor of the Lebanese Central Bank, was elected by 66 of the 69 deputies present in parliament. He will resume office when President Franjieh formally steps down from office.

    Reuters reported that several hours after the election at least four people were killed and several wounded in a fierce gun battle outside the president-elect's residence.

    Details of the incident were vague on Saturday night (8 May) but Reuters said the action took place when pro-Syrian Saiqa Palestinian commandos were trying to protect Mr. Sarkie from left-wing militiamen.

    SYNOPSIS: A portrait of the late Egyptian leader President Nasser looks down on the troubled city of Beirut. Barricades of burning tyres were erected in the Lebanese capital on Saturday in a bid to stop the country's leaders electing a new President, Christian right-winger Elias Sarkis. Left-wing factions have already made it clear they don't want Sarkis to replace President Suleiman Franjieh who has virtually been forced out of office.

    Throughout Moslem west Beirut--where the left has its main support--gunfire crackled in an attempt to disrupt the parliamentary election. Gunmen fired into the air in an apparent attempt to raise tension. But despite their efforts, the required two-thirds of the 98 members of the one-house chamber assembled at the villa where the parliamentary session was held. Mr. Sarkis will not become head of state until President Franjieh steps down.

    The burning barricades were only partly successful.

    Some gunmen persisted with their efforts to try to stop, the election. They stopped ministers' cars but finally left them through. The election took place in an atmosphere of high tension.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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