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Lebanon elects president after post vacant for over 2 years

By Andrew V. Pestano
Lebanon elects president after post vacant for over 2 years
Michel Aoun, 81, received the support of parliament to become president on the country's 46th attempt to choose a head of state in over two years. Photo courtesy of Michel Aoun

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Michel Aoun, a former army chief supported by Hezbollah, was elected as president of Lebanon on Monday after the post had been vacant for more than two years.

Aoun, 81, a Maronite Christian and a former member of parliament, won the support of 83 members of parliament out of the necessary 65 needed to win. In Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system, a Maronite Christian was due the seat of the presidency.

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The vote on Monday was the 46th attempt to elect a president. Aoun will be the 13th president of Lebanon since the country's independence from France in 1943.

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Lebanon has been dealing with a political crisis amid Syria's half-decade civil war, which has led to more than 1 million Syrians entering Lebanon, seeing refuge. The refugee crisis has divided Lebanese politics, particularly over support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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