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Monday, 31 October 2016

Lebanon Presidential Vacuum Comes to an End, Security Tight Ahead of Vote Session, Aoun Supporters Begin Celebrations




Lebanon: Presidential Vacuum Comes to an End

October 31, 2016
MP Michel Aoun is to be elected as Lebanon’s 13th head of state in a parliamentary session on Monday, ending a two and a two-and-a-half-year power vacuum.
Nearly 88 members of parliament are to elect the 81-year-old veteran Christian leader.
Lebanon has been without a head of state since former President Michel Sleiman’s term ended  in May 2014, without an agreement on a replacement.
Aoun has been a running candidate from the beginning, backed by Hezbollah, who repeatedly reiterated that the founder of Free Patriotic Movement is qualified for such post.
Parliament has met more than 40 times since then, each time failing to elect a president because of a lack of quorum.
Earlier this month, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri formally endorsed Aoun for president.
With Hariri and Hezbollah’s votes assured, a quorum of two-thirds majority of the 128-parliament has been secured to convene a parliament session today at which Aoun is expected to garner enough votes to become president.
On Friday night, Aoun also received the support of Lebanon’s leading Druse politician, Walid Jumblatt, boosting his chances even further for a vast majority in Monday’s vote.

Security Tight Ahead of Lebanon’s President Vote Session, Aoun Supporters Begin Celebrations

31-10-2016 | 09:23

Security was tight across Lebanon Monday morning, just hours before a Lebanese Parliament session expected to finally put an end to 2-1/2 years of a presidential vacuum.

lebanese parliament
Downtown Beirut was closed off to the public, with the exception of some employees, as Lebanese soldiers guarded all entrance points.
MP Michel Aoun, the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement, is expected to be elected president in the crucial Parliament session after recently securing backing from the country’s main factions.
From the early hours of Monday, FPM supporters across Lebanon added last-minute touches to logistical preparations for celebrations over Aoun’s presidential election.
Festivities will be taking place in Martyr’s Square in Downtown Beirut, the nearby districts of Ashrafieh, the coastal city of Jounieh north of the capital and Aoun’s birthplace, Haret Hreik in Beirut’s southern suburbs, among other places across Lebanon.
“We began preparing a week ago. We decorated the municipality building and the church … Everyone is happy for this moment, which we hope will change Lebanon’s fate,” Haret Hreik Mayor Ziad Wakid told Al-Jadeed TV.
Last week, Aoun urged his supporters to exercise restraint and order during celebrations and avoid “manifestations that may be offensive to the public order.”
“Today we are celebrating as Lebanese first and foremost. Everywhere we go, everyone is praying that the General [Aoun] will be able to rescue the country,” said one supporter as he honked his car in jubilation on the Jounieh-Beirut highway.
Aoun will be Lebanon’s 13th head of state since independence from France in 1943.
Aoun will need a two-thirds majority, or 86 MPs, in the first round of voting in the Parliament session at noon to ensure his return to Baabda.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team


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