(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — MP Samy Gemayel was elected on Sunday as the new president of the Kataeb party, replacing his father Amine Gemayel who announced he would not seek re-election after leading the party since 2007.
The election shifts the leadership of the Kataeb party to the third generation of the Gemayel family, who formed the party in 1936 as a Maronite paramilitary youth organization.
Gemayel, 34, garnered a majority 339 votes, as his contender Pierre Atallah received 37 votes.
“I feel a very heavy burden and I will shoulder a huge responsibility,” a tearful Gemayel said following the election. “My daily work will be alongside all Kataeb members, all Lebanese and all decent people.”
The polls opened at 10 a.m. at the Kataeb headquarters in Saifi during the last day of the Kataeb General Conference, which began on Friday at the Le Royal Hotel in Dbayeh.
Polls closed at 3 p.m., and results were announced shortly after 8 p.m.
“I will not be able to do anything on my own,” Gemayel added, asking for teamwork and unity as key for his upcoming term. “You have entrusted me with a huge responsibility.”
Gemayel, who was elected into parliament in 2009, promised to “exert his full efforts” and practice the “values of democracy.” He first announced his candidacy two weeks ago in Bikfaya.
“I shall remain loyal to the sacrifices of the Lebanese people,” Gemayel said, adding that he will head to Bickfaya to visit his family martyrs “from whom he derives his power.”
Joseph Abu Khalil was elected as Kataeb’s deputy leader and former Minister Salim Sayegh was elected as the second deputy leader. A political bureau team was also elected on Sunday.