Security tightens up as Lebanon tries once more to end the presidential vacuum

Published October 31st, 2016 - 01:00 GMT
Barb-wires surrounding Nejmeh square, in downtown Beirut, where the parliament discussions are being held. (File photo)
Barb-wires surrounding Nejmeh square, in downtown Beirut, where the parliament discussions are being held. (File photo)

Security was tight across Lebanon Monday morning as the country prepared to elect a new head of state, ending a 2-1/2-year power void.

The Parliament's Nejmeh Square in Downtown Beirut was closed off to the public, with Army members heavily deployed at its entrances.

Employees had to walk to reach their offices downtown, as all vehicles were banned from entering the area.

Security forces also set up metal detectors along the streets around Parliament as army helicopters could also be heard hovering overhead.

All security agencies were put on alert across the country to avert any security breaches.

Founder of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun is expected to be elected president in the crucial Parliament session after recently securing backing from the country's main factions.

If elected, Aoun will be Lebanon's 13th head of state since its independence from France in 1943. It will be the second time the FPM leader returns to the presidential palace in Baabda, after he was forced to flee 26 years ago by a Syrian military intervention.

Aoun will need a two-thirds majority, or the votes of 86 MPs, in the first round of voting in the Parliament session at noon to ensure his return to Baabda.

He is expected to secure at least 88 votes.


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