Members of the Lebanese Parliament braved street violence to gather in central Beirut on Tuesday (21 October) and re-elect Kamal Asaad for his ninth yearly term as Speaker of the House.
GV House of Parliament.
GV & SVs armed troops in streets around House of Parliament (3 shots)
SV tank and armoured car along street.
SCU PAN Premier Karami arrives.
SV PAN interior with troops at all entrances.
GV members seated in session.
SV Premier Karami seated at bench.
CU Pierre Gemayel about to take seat.
SV Dean Chamoun.
SV PAN ballot being circulated.
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Background: Members of the Lebanese Parliament braved street violence to gather in central Beirut on Tuesday (21 October) and re-elect Kamal Asaad for his ninth yearly term as Speaker of the House.
Factional violence this week has added another 23 people to the 1,650 killed in the past seven months.
Rival gunmen roam the streets of Beirut despite seven agreements between their leaders in the past month which prevents them from doing so.
The streets are unsafe, and reports said that gunmen would try and prevent the National Assembly of Parliament from meeting for the election.
Interior Minister Camille Chamoun, Prime Minister Karami's right-hand man in the four month old government, arrived or the session well guarded by militia from his own part .. the National Liberals.
Right-wing Christian Falangist leader Pierre Gemayel arrived in a car preceded and followed by lorries filled with armed men.
The election for the Speaker took the form of a secret ballot and Mr. Asaad -- a Shiite Moslem -- was re-elected "comfortably."
Prime Minister Rashid Karami took the opportunity to address his Government on the question of using the Army to quell the violence.
He said he still opposed sending in troops despite gunfire, explosions and kidnappings which force most people to remain behind locked doors.
"Against whom would the Army fight?" he asked. "Would it fight the Lebanese people?"