Beirut- 890 days of Lebanese presidential vacuum came to end on Monday by electing General Michel Aoun as the country’s president with the support of 83 out of 127 MPs in Parliament.
Aoun returned to the Presidential Palace 26 years after he had left it under the artillery of the Syrian Army tanks in November 1990 for objecting the Taif Accord. After he was elected, Aoun vowed in his inaugural speech to protect the country’s Constitution, which derives from the Taif Accord and to fully apply it without any exceptions.
In a session that lacked no humorous spirit, MPs spent 3 hours and four rounds to elect the new president after one MP deliberately placed two votes in the ballot box in two consecutive times, forcing Parliament to redo the electoral process.
At the end Aoun was elected as head of state, promising in his inaugural speech to mend the economic situation and to support the Lebanese Army facing terrorism. At the foreign level, Aoun vowed to abide by the decisions of the Arab League and to enact a foreign policy that endorses self-dissociation from the raging fires in the region.
All positions expressed by the country’s political figures on Monday revealed that these forces wish to cooperate with the new era, a position also expressed by Speaker Nabih Berri who told Aoun after his election: “I am pleased to welcome you, Mr. President, under the dome of the Parliament.”
Berri added: “Today, the Lebanese Parliament has completed the presidential election and has entrusted you, on behalf of the people, to bring the ship safe to shore amid the rocking waves surrounding us and threatening to divide our countries, as well as the countries of the Arab neighborhood.”
Saudi State Minister for Arab Gulf Affairs, Thamer al-Sabhan hoped that Aoun would not be associated to any sect, but rather “represents all Lebanese.”
Iran also welcomed the election of Aoun, describing his winning as a victory for the so-called Hezbollah.