At 10:30 p.m. last night, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Michel Al-Murr held a press conference at the ministry's headquarters to announce the official results of Sunday's municipal and mayoral elections in the Mount Lebanon governorate. Murr opened the conference by praising the smoothness and organization that characterized the polls on Sunday emphasizing the poll was free and fair.
The interior minister also stressed that noticeable victories were scored by Hizbullah-backed lists and opposition figures, reiterating the democratic spirit that prevailed in Sunday's ballots. He later responded to questions by reporters before announcing the official results in certain municipalities. Murr said the detailed results of all areas will be announced later by the National News Agency and distributed to the media. Hizbullah scored a sweeping victory in Bourj Al-Barajneh and Ghbeiry over lists backed by House Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. A noticeable victory for Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiyyah and Hariri supporters was also scored. Opposition figures and lists also won in areas like Deir Al-Qamar, Jounieh, Sin al-Fil, Baabdat and Beit Mery.
In Tripoli, Candidate Ahmad Qamareddine this afternoon announced the list of Independents which constitute 15 members. Another list was announced today in Tripoli by Dr. Monzer Kabbara. The Free List of Tripoli includes 12 candidates for municipal seats in the city. Another consensus list will be announced later today in addition to an expected fourth list of the Islamic committees in Tripoli.
A war of words was witnesses in the city between MP Mosbah Al-Ahdab and former prime minister Omar Karameh. Ahdab is accusing the Karameh family of dominating Tripoli for more than half a century.
Meanwhile, in Zgharta, the battle is hot between supporters of deputy Nayla Mouawwad and Health Minister Suleiman Franjieh. Attempts to reach consensus between the two alliances have so far failed.
Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal arrived in Beirut at noon today. The prince is expected to meet House Speaker Nabih Berri. He will later head to Kraytem where he will have lunch with Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri. The prince is also scheduled to visit the headquarters of Solidere, the company in charge of the reconstructing Beirut's central district. At Solidere, Prince Al-Walid will sign two investment contracts to build the Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut.
Prime Minister Rafik Al-Hariri today held talks with former minister Fouad Boutrous at Kraytem. Boutrous discussed with Hariri his efforts to reach a consensus list in the capitals local elections. Beirut's Catholic Archbishop Habib Basha also visited Hariri in the presence of former minister Pierre Feraoun and deputy Michel Feraoun. Discussions centered on the upcoming local elections in the capital.
Hariri is also scheduled to meet a number of Beiruti delegations and officials between 5:00 and 7:00 this evening at his residence in Kraytem to continue consultations and discussions over the upcoming municipal and mayoral elections expected to be held in the capital.
Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Nasrallah Boutrous Sfeir today called on all elected municipal councils in Mount Lebanon to work on developing their towns and serving all citizens. Sfeir was speaking after a meeting he held in Bkirki with the newly elected municipal council of the town of Rayfoun.
The Maronite Patriarch also received today deputy Rshayed Al-Khazen who noted that the electoral battle ended on Sunday adding that what was accomplished is a victory for the citizens of Jounieh. He also revealed that he will hold a press conference at noon tomorrow to explain the details of the electoral battle in Jounieh.
The western sector of the zone Israel occupies in the South today witnessed a noticeable escalation. Israel carried out attacks on Haddatha, Barasheet, Kafra, Yater, Haris, Tibnin, and Majdel Zoun. Two civilians, a man and a women, were wounded. Mariam Hasan Mansour, 50, from the village of Haddatha was injured in her stomach and hand. Mohammed Swaidan from the village of Yater was also injured. A number of civilian homes, including those belonging to Hassan Hamdan and Mahmud Hamdan, were destroyed in the Southern village of Kafra. Security sources in the South also reported that at least one Israeli allied militiaman was wounded in the outpost of Haddatha adding that Israeli shelling of the same village damaged the house of civilian Mohammed Abdel Nabi. Israeli shells also fell today on different areas of the Iqlim Al-Touffah mountain ridges. The shelling coincided with a meeting of the five-nation cease-fire monitoring group which started today at the UNIFIL's headquarters in Naqoura. The panel is looking into six complaints, three filed by Lebanon and three others lodged by Israel, over truce violations.
Heavy Israeli artillery was yesterday directed at the Western Bekaa village of Mashghara. Four Lebanese civilians were wounded in the attack. They are: Rima Abdullah, 16, Mahmud Salim Ammar, 13, Hanadi Ali Rida, 6, and Fatima Sader, 80. The attack also damaged several houses and a mosque in the village. In another development, Israeli warplanes last night carried out air raids on Jabal Al-Rafii. For its part, the Lebanese resistance attacked a number of Israeli outposts in the South.
A new stamp was issued portraying Pope John Paul II alongside Lebanese President Elias Al-Hrawi. The photo was taken during the pope's visit to Beirut on May 10,11 1997. The telecommunication ministry released the stamp last Saturday. The stamps, which cost LL10,000 each, are now on sale at the country's post offices. The picture on the stamp is colored accompanied by a red and white background representing the Lebanese flag. The following statement is written on the bottom of the stamp in both Arabic and French: "The visit of his holiness John Paul II to Lebanon May 10,11 1997".
The Luxurious Hotel in the heart of Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon
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