Nabih Berri : biography
Nabih Berri ( born 28 January 1938) is the Speaker of the Parliament of Lebanon. He heads the Shi’a Amal Movement. One of the main warlords of the Lebanese Civil War, He has been described as "one of the most corrupt sectarian leaders in Lebanon".
During his tenure as speaker of the Lebanese parliament, Berri is estimated to have gathered a fortune of over USD 2 Billion.
Among the earliest examples of Berri’s corruption early in his tenure as speaker of parliament was a coastal motorway in southern Lebanon which was overpriced by three digit million USD sum, and whose contract was won by a firm run by Berri’s wife, Randa Assi.Johnson, Michael (2001). , p.236Schwerna, Tobias (2010). , p.128
He was considered by Rafik Hariri to be "irredeemably corrupt and unreliable", as well as an opportunist,Blanford, Nicholas (2006). , p. 118 and is thought to maintain his support base through access to state funds.
Berri’s current wife Randa’s sister, Samira Assi, is said to have made a fortune by getting a contract from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to print one million copies of Gaddafi’s "Green Book". Assi’s deals are seen as highly controversial, since the founder of the Amal Movement, Musa al-Sadr, is known to have been disappeared on the orders of Gaddafi himself.
Berri headed since 1999 Arab Parliamentary Committee. On 3 June 2003, he was elected president of the Arab Parliamentary Union and handed the presidency in Damascus on 3 January 2004 for a period of two years. He was elected president of the Council of the Parliamentary Union of the Member States of the
Later political career
Berri again served as a cabinet minister from 1989 to 1992. He is reported to have the biggest influence in the Lebanese government formed after the Taif Accord. He became elected speaker of the National Assembly on 20 November 1992 at the head of the "Liberation of the South Movement" list. On 8 September 1996, his list, the Liberation and Development, won the legislative elections and he was once again re-elected Speaker. In the general elections of 2000, he won the seat of Zahrani, the first district of south Lebanon.
On 3 June 2003, Berri was elected President of the Arab Parliament, which he assumed on 1 March the following year. In the 2009 general elections, he also won a seat from Zahrani as part of the 8 March alliance list.
Currently Berri headed the list of "Resistance and Development" in the parliamentary elections that took place in southern Lebanon on 3 September 2000, which was won in full. He also headed the list of "Liberation" in the parliamentary elections that took place in southern Lebanon on 6 September 1992, which was won in full. The other lists he headed were "Liberation and Development" in the parliamentary elections on 8 September 1996, which was won in full, "Liberation and Development" in the parliamentary elections which took place in June 2005, which was won in full. Since 1992 he chairs the "Liberation and Development" parliamentary bloc.
Berri’s spouse Randa Berri has a construction firm.
Early life and education
He was born in Bo, Sierra Leone to Lebanese parents on 28 January 1938. His father was involved in buying goods from the indigenous people of Sierra Leone for a large multi-national corporation.
Berri went to school in Tebnine and Ain Ebel in southern Lebanon, then continued his education in Bint Jbeil and Jaafariya supplementary schools in southern Lebanon and later studied at the Makassed and the Ecole de la Sagesse in Beirut. He obtained a law degree in 1963 from the Lebanese University, where he had served as the student body president, and became a lawyer at the Court of Appeals. He also graduated from Paris-Sorbonne University in France. During the 1960s, he joined the Arab Nationalist Movement.
During 1963, Berri was elected as president of the National Union of Lebanese Students, and participated to student and political conferences. During his early career he became a lawyer at the Court of Appeals. Berri wanted to ran for parliamentary seat on the list of Kamel Asaad, then speaker of the Lebanese parliament in the general elections of 1968 and 1972. However, Asaad objected his candidacy. In the early 1970s, Berri worked in Beirut as a lawyer for several companies. He also became a warlord during the civil war backed by Syria.