New Lebanese president elected
Lebanon's Army Commander Michel Suleiman was elected president by lawmakers on Sunday in a first step towards ending a long-running political deadlock. "Michel Suleiman got 118 votes and I declare him president of Lebanon," Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said.
Of the 127 MPs who voted, six cast blank ballots and one voted for slain ex-premier Rafiq Hariri and several MPs killed in Lebanon since 2005. According to AFP, one MP also voted for former MP Jean Obeid and another voted for majority ex-MP Nassib Lahoud. "This is a historic moment," said parliament speaker Nabih Berri. "I ask God to help you succeed in steering the Lebanese ship to a safe haven... today no-one in the world can turn Lebanon into a killing field."
Celebratory gunshots were fired into the air across Beirut following the announcement of the vote.
"Let us unite... and work towards a solid reconciliation," the former army chief said after being elected by parliament. "We have paid dearly for our national unity. Let us preserve it hand-in-hand."