Little-known Syrian politician elected parliament speaker

Syria's state news agency says Hamoudeh Sabbagh, a little-known legislator, has been elected speaker of parliament.

The Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, said Thursday the new People's Assembly chief won 193 votes, while his closest opponent only won 10.

Sabbagh replaces Hadiyah Abbas, who was removed from her post in June with a majority of votes. A parliamentary statement says she was removed because of her "undemocratic behaviors," without elaborating.

Pro-government websites said Sabbagh is a member of President Bashar Assad's ruling Baath party and became a member of parliament during the 2012 elections.

Assad's family has ruled Syria since 1970, and he has survived a six-year-old civil war sparked by an uprising against his rule.