Lebanese longtime parliament speaker re-elected to post

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Lebanese lawmakers have overwhelmingly re-elected the country's longtime parliament speaker to the post, giving the 80-year-old monopoly of the office for three decades.

The 128-seat assembly voted 98 in favor of Nabih Berri, with 29 blank ballots and one that was annulled. The newly elected parliament convened Wednesday for the first time after May 6 nationwide balloting. It's Berri's sixth consecutive term; he ran unchallenged.

The country's first parliamentary elections in nine years ended years of political stalemate over a new election law and repeated extension of the parliament's terms.

The re-election of Berri, an ally of the Hezbollah group who has held the post since 1992, reflects Lebanon's entrenched sectarian-based political system which has held despite rising discontent.

Outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri called him a "national symbol."