Berri noted that today coincides with the 8th anniversary of the Israeli withdrawal, and the end of the Nahr el Bared battle. After claiming that parliament was "never closed", citing the sacrifices those assassinated, and going over the events of the past 18th months, thanking all dignitaries and world leaders in attendance, including the Emir of Qatar and the Unites States "which seems to have come to the conclusion that Lebanon cannot be the birthplace of its Middle East project", and after a long speech, he swore in Michel Suleiman as the republic's 12th president.
Suleiman was elected by 118 votes out of 127. One vote went to Nassib Lahoud, once one of March 14's candidates. One vote went to MP Jean Obeid.
And one vote went to "Rafik Hariri and the martyr MPs".
There were six blank votes.
Update. A good part of Suleiman's speech focused on youth, and the need to let them lead the way and build a nation they can be proud of. He also called for recognizing the rights of immigrants. He said immigrants are more deserving of citizenship than some of those who received it. He also talked about the importance of decentralization
He affirmed his commitment to the Hariri tribunal to bring the killers of Hariri and others to justice.
On the resistance: he said the occupation of Shebaa calls for a defense strategy and dialogue to make use of the resistance capacity and to make sure its accomplishments are not invested in the wrong place.
He called for diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Syria, to ensure good relations.
He said the Palestinian cause should not be used as a pretext to carry weapons, citing what happened in Nahr el Bared.
He called for a keeping a minimum of consensus to avoid the events of past weeks, when people started doubting the Lebanese army's abilities to maintain peace.
The speech was not bad. It is closer to a March 14 speech than Hizbullah, which is an encouraging sign.