Daryan Sweeps to Victory at Grand Mufti Elections with 74 Votesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Head of the Sunni Sharia Supreme Court of Lebanon Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan, 61, was unanimously elected as the country's new Grand Mufti.
Daryan received 74 of the votes of members while 9 others voted for the Head of the Sunni Court in Baabda, Judge Sheikh Ahmad Darwish al-Kurdi, 8 cast blank ballots and 2 votes were canceled.
The newly-elected Mufti called fr moderation in his speech, criticizing extremism.
"The elections express the strong will of all Muslims in Lebanon to confront the problems and straighten the course," he pointed out.
He vowed that division will no longer take place between the Mufti and the Higher Islamic Council.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam said before announcing the results that the process was hailed by former Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani.
Daryan will be handed over his tasks on August 15 when the term of Qabbanni ends.
“We are seeking to fortify Dar al-Fatwa's unity role,” Salam told officials and Sheikhs who gathered at Dar al-Fatwa in Beirut.
He pointed out that the polls are held in a “positive atmosphere,” hinting an end to a three-year war between two Higher Islamic Councils.
“We agreed on our sect and the nation's highest interest.”
The voters then went into a closed-door meeting to elect a new Grand Mufti for Lebanon.
Attendees cast their votes for two candidates Daryan and al-Kurdi.
Daryan, soon after his election, held a meeting with Qabbani at his residence .
Qabbani, who succeeded in 1996 former grand mufti Hassan Khaled , who was assassinated in 1989, had previously rejected the election of Daryan as his successor.
The electoral body includes four current and former premiers, 27 lawmakers, four ministers, in addition to muftis of governorates, religious judges, the members of the HIC and the Muslim Scholars Committee.
Several Muslim Scholers Committee members held a sit-in outside Dar al-Fatwa, demanding clerics to assume their responsibilities and removing all guardianship ship imposed on the Sunnis highest religious post.
Last week, Salam called on the Higher Islamic Council to elect a new Grand Mufti on August 10, a decision that surprisingly received the blessing of Qabbani.
He also asked the head of Dar al-Fatwa's Islamic Endowments, Sheikh Hisham Khalifeh, to post the decree's stipulations at the entrance of Dar al-Fatwa, and to take all necessary administrative procedures in this regard.
Qabbani's approval came in light of recent negotiations over the Dar al-Fatwa crisis, in an attempt to unite Muslims, and in response to the Egyptian initiative which received the blessing of Arabs.
The three-year dispute between the HIC led by Qabbani and that of his deputy Sheikh Omar Misqawi is the result of political interference.
The HIC -- which elects the Mufti and organizes Dar al-Fatwa's affairs – became the center of controversy in 2012 after 21 of its members, who are close to al-Mustaqbal movement, extended its term until 2015 despite Qabbani's objection.
The Mufti later held elections for the Council, which were deemed illegal by ex-PMs Fouad Saniora and Najib Miqati, and the group led by Misqawi, who argued that the polls violated Shura Council decisions and did not enjoy a legal quorum.
In June, Sheikh Khalifeh called for electing a new Grand Mufti in August, but this announcement was met with the opposition of the council led by Misqawi, who demanded the elections to be held as soon as possible.
Qabbani's term ends on September 15, when he reaches the legal age of the post, which is 73.
Qabbani recently blamed Saniora for the ongoing division as he seeks to cancel several powers granted to the Mufti.
Meanwhile, several Lebanese officials, including ex-PM Saad Hariri, welcomed Daryan's election.
During a luncheon at the Center House, Hariri said: “We will not accept that a minority of extremists drives Islam and the Muslims to a confrontation with the rest of our partners in the country and the nation.
"These extremists who are uprooting Christians from Iraq, from their land and history, are a crowd of stray people who are hostile to Islam,” he added.