Elias Aoun, has been elected the head of the Lebanese Journalists Union, as the union members chose a new 12-member council Tuesday, in an election which saw more than 400 journalists voting for candidates from two rival lists. The 12-member list led by Elias Aoun, a former member of the Press Syndicate who resigned last month to be eligible for the Journalists Union elections, took a majority of the 434 votes cast. Aoun’s list triumphed over the 7-member list backed by Elias Hajj. Some members of the Aoun-led list were on the union’s previous council, the mandate of which expired earlier this month. Tuesday’s polls came 13 months after the death of the union’s long time head, Melhem Karam, who had presided over the council since 1961. In spite of suggestions by two groups of journalists that the union could not announce elections because there are pending legal cases against the council, elections were held on time and the new council will meet for the first time later this week. In addition to Aoun, the new council includes: Habib Shlouq, Nafez Qawas, Mounir Najjar, Said Nasreddine, Joseph Qoseify, Scarlett Haddad, Camille Khalil, Ghassan Rifi, Ali Youssef, Ghasseb al-Mukhtar and Arafat Hijazzi. The defeated, incomplete list included: Elias Hajj, Amjad Iskandar, Fatmeh Houhou, Younes al-Sayyed, Kawsar Handouri and Nazem al-Sammak. After the results were announced, Aoun expressed his gratitude to all the journalists "who have done their electoral duty in a right democratic atmosphere," stressing that "his list is not the only winner in this election, but all the Union members are winners including the competitors list, because the passionate competition between the two lists was a sign of real democracy in the Union." He added: "I hope we will remain united, as we have some challenges to face after this long electoral day, particularly reaching higher professional standards, and protecting the members' rights. I will not accept congratulations on this occasion, but I hope to receive those congratulations by the end of my three year term, for the achievements we will hopefully do by the backing of all members".