Christian to become president of Syria parliament for first time in decades

A Christian legislator was Thursday elected speaker of parliament in predominantly Muslim Syria for the first time in decades. Hammudeh Sabbagh, a 58-year-old Syriac Orthodox Christian graduate in law and member of President Bashar al-Assad’s Baath party from Hasakeh province in northeast Syria, won 193 votes out of 252 cast, state media reported.

He became the first Christian to hold the post since Fares el-Khoury who served multiple terms before and after the French mandate of 1920-1946.