The Maronite Patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir received yesterday a delegation of the Civil Service Council. Sfeir insisted on reinforcing the role of inspection institutions in the state, so that people would have confidence in it.
Sfeir also received a German Parliamentary delegation, from the Socialist Democratic Party, headed by deputy Kristofer Shubeh . The delegation declared that the visit was in order to have a real image of the situation and that they were pleased that the Patriarch gave them a sincere overview, concerning especially the Christian-Islamic coexistence.
The Follow-up committee held yesterday a meeting in the "Voice of Lebanon" building, and discussed steps undertaken to defend media and information freedoms.
At the end of the meeting, the committee issued a statement, which reaffirmed that freedom in Lebanon was in danger, since the previous government didn't fulfill its promises to keep authorization possible. The committee declared the new parliament responsible of protecting all kinds of freedom. It also took advantage of the French president, Jack Chirac, visit to Lebanon, to ascertain that there would not be normal relations between the two countries people, if these relations were not based on fundamental principles of freedom and democracy.
Yesterday, at 10:00 A.M, the first session of the new parliament was held, headed by the oldest deputy, Cheikh Qabalan Isa El-Khoury. Two deputies were absent : President Omar Karameh and Wadih Aql.
Then a statement was read by the Ministry of Interior, concerning the last elections. It included the names of deputies elected, since August 18th 1996, in all departments. The deputies are:
Akram Choheib, Antoine Andrawos, Antoine El-Hetti, Abdo Bejjani, Prince Talal Erslan, Marwan Hmadeh, Walid Jounblat, Nabil El-Boustani, Ala Eddine Terro, Khalil Abd Ennour, George Dib Nehmeh, Wadih Aql, Zaher Al-Khatib, Mahmoud Awwad, Nohad Germanos Said, Emil Nawfal, Mansour Ghanem El-Bown, Rachid El-Khazen, Elias El-Khazen, Fares Bweiz, Camil Ziadeh, Basem Sabeh, Elias Hobeika, Pierre Dakkach, Ayman Chokeir, Salah El-Harakeh, Jean Ghanem, Michel El-Murr, Ghassan Al-Achkar, Habib Hakim, Nassib Lahoud, Antoine Haddad, Rajy bou Haydar, Syboh Hovenanyan, Chaker Abou Soleiman, Ahmed Habbous, Nayla Mohaawad, Maurice Fadel, Boutros Harb, Soleiman Franjieh, Isam Fares, Joubran Taouq, Farid Mokary, Abd Errahman Abd Errahman, Talal El-Morehbi, Ahmed Karameh, Mohammad Kabbara, Fauzi Hobeich, Istefan Eddwayheh, Mohammad Mosbah El-Ahdab, Ryad Assaraf, Nicolas Ghosn, Omar Karameh, Qabalan Isa El-Khoury, Jihad Essamad, Omar Mesqawi, Fayez Ghosen, Wajih El-Baarini, Jean Obeid, Saleh El-Kheir, Ahmed Fatfat, Khaled Daher Sayed Aql, Rafiq Al-Hariri, Selim El-Hoss, Bchara Merhej, Khatchik Babekyan, Michel Faraoun, Hagop Demerjyan, Agop Joekhadaryan, Najah Wakim, Ibrahim Dadayan, Khaled Saab, Yegya Gergyan, Baha Eddine Itani, Selim Dyab, Tammam Salam Adnan Araqgi, Mohammad Youssef Baydoun, Hossein Yatim, Jamil Echammas, Ghassan Matar, Nazih Mansour, Nabih Berreh, Ali Osseiran, Bahia Al-Hariri, Michel Moussa Mohammad Abd El-Hamid Baydoun, Ali Youssef El-Khalil, Ayoub Hmayyed, Anwar El-Khalil, Abdellatif Ezzein, Yassin Jaber, Mohammad Foneich, Samir Azar, Nadim Salem, Soleiman Kenaan, Abdallah Qassir, Mohammad Raad, Hassan Alawyeh, Mustafa Saad, Asaad Herdan, Ali Khoreiss, Ahmed Soweid, Ali Khalil, Mohmoud Abou Hamdan, Elie El-Ferezli, Mohsen Dalloul, Ibrahim Amin Essayed, Hossein El-Hajj Hasan, Ammar Mousawi, Elias Skaf, Abd Errahim Morad, Ibrahim Bayan, Nicholas Fattouch, Faycal Daoud, Hossein El-Hosseini, Henry Chedid, Isam Qanso, Rabiha Kayrouz, Khalil Al-Hrawi, Ghazi Zoheiter, Chawqi Fakhoury, George Qasargi, Sami El-Khatib, Mohammad El-Mays, Marwan Fares, Ismail Sokaryyeh.
Then, the oldest member of the parliament, deputy Qabalan Isa El-Khoury, delivered a speech, and after reading articles number 32 and 44 of the constitution and number 1,2,3,11 and 12 of the parliament bylaw, concerning the election of a parliament president, vice-president, secretaries and representatives, Cheikh Qabalan Isa El-Khoury asked deputies to elect, by means of secret vote, a head of the parliament.
Once votes were counted, it turned out that 126 deputies have voted, among whom 4 gave blank sheets. Thus, deputy Qabalan Isa El-Khoury declared president Nabih Berreh, president of the parliament, by the majority of 122 votes.
The new president delivered the following speech:
One thing develops in Lebanon's garden: Freedom
One matter grows in Lebanon's land: Democracy.
Only one person protects Lebanon: God.
First, I would like to thank you for your confidence by electing me president of the parliament, you entrusted me with huge responsibilities. I would like also to welcome our new colleagues, congratulate all of you, and be grateful to those who were unlucky during these elections.
Today, during the first session of this new parliament, it is a must to review the previous parliament achievements. In fact, the Bureau Body of the previous Assembly held regularly its meeting, besides the regular sessions of committees heads and reporters at the beginning of each month.
Furthermore, during the last 4 years, parliamentary committees held 871 meetings, and the General Assembly 53 sessions, in order to discuss bills; the same Assembly adopted 426 laws.
On the other hand, Lebanon has had, through his previous parliament, an active part within the Arab, as well as the International and parliamentary unions. ...
The previous parliament uplifted the political life in the country, which encouraged people into a greater participation, during the last summer elections. It also encountered, along with the government, all crises and problems. The precedent, as well as the present parliament members are all responsible of the confidence people gave them during the elections.
Some wanted to use the Taef agreement in order to start a cold war between the Lebanese people,but we worked with governments to eliminate civil war impacts, and begin reconstruction and development. Mistakes occurred, it can't be denied, but we are still learning how to settle problems; Lebanon, however, faced two Israeli aggressions, first in July 1993 and second in April 1996, and the state has had a more efficient role, especially during the second attack.
We believe in Democracy as the only means to help deepen the national unity, and increase the citizen's confidence in the state. It is your task to strengthen the national democracy, in a world of violence, crime, drugs, unemployment and poverty. We must all have the appropriate attitudes, concerning the liberation of our land in the South and West Bekaa, according to the resolution number 425.
A greater popular participation encompasses letting people play a part in the state policy, and in civil organizations and unions. To achieve this goal, there must be an administrative decentralization, which reduces costs and increases competence. Then, the administrative reform must occur according to laws, and inspection institutions should remain activated, for this, the parliament will insist on purging the administration of corruption, bribes and deceit.
Israel still occupies our land, and increases its attacks day after day, for the present Lekoud government wants to deny the concluded agreements.
Nevertheless, Lebanon's choice is to keep on resisting the occupation army, and coordinating with the big brother, Syria, which supports the country's unity, sovereignty and independence.
We must work together to rebuild the country and help reinforce the peace process, by liberating our land and concluding additional agreements with Syria.
Finally, let me thank you for your attention.
Long live for you and for Lebanon.
Then, El-Ferezli was elected vice-president of the parliament, by the majority of 115 votes, besides 10 blank sheets. As for the secretaries post, it was assigned to deputies Camil Ziadeh with 97 votes and Ayman Chokeir with 96 votes Afterwards, three representatives were elected:
deputies: Michel Moussa (106 votes) , Abd Errahman Abd Errahman (105 votes), Jack Joekhadaryan (105 votes)
Yesterday, three football matches were held, in the third period of the Lebanese football series, and these are the results:
1-Chabab Assahel v/s Attadamoun-tyre (1-0) (at Saida local stadium)
2-Assafa v/s Assalam-Zgharta (1-1) (at Assafa stadium-Wata El-Mossaytbeh)
3-Arryada wal Adab v/s Achabiba-Al-Mazraa (1-1) (at Tripoli local stadium)
Today at 2:45 P.M. 4 matches are to be held:
1-Al Homentmen v/s Al-Homenmen (at the Bekaa stadium)
2-Al Hekmeh v/s Racing (at Assafa stadium)
3-Al-Bourj v/s Annejmeh(at Tripoli local stadium)
4-Al-Ansar v/s Al-Aka-Aley (at Bourj Hammoud local stadium)
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