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Lebanese Parliament Elects New President


FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2016, photo, Lebanese politician Michel Aoun speaks to journalists after former prime minister Saad al-Hariri endorsed him for president, in Beirut, Lebanon.

Lebanon's parliament elected former army commander Michel Aoun as president, ending a more than two-year power vacuum and political stalemate in the country.

Aoun, 81, was quickly sworn in as Lebanon's 13th president, pledging political and economic reform and urging a “real partnership” among deeply divided Lebanese political factions.

He has a wide support base, mostly among Lebanon's educated youth, but is considered a divisive figure in the country for his role in the 1975-90 civil war.

Aoun, a strong ally of Hezbollah, secured 83 votes out of 127 after several rounds of voting.

He did not win the two thirds majority in the first round, as had been widely expected.

As part of a political deal, Aoun, a Maronite Christian, is expected to appoint Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri as prime minister.

The Lebanese presidency is reserved for a Maronite Christian in the country's sectarian power-sharing system.

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