Lebanon’s New Head of State

Aoun Gets His Wish

Supporters of the Free Patriotic Movement carry flags and a picture of Christian politician and FPM founder Michel Aoun. Mohamed Azakir / Reuters

The longest presidential void in Lebanon’s history—two and a half years—was finally filled today when 83 out of the 127 parliamentarians who were present cast their votes for candidate Michel Aoun, the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and former army commander. This outcome, long in the making, will help arrest the decaying of Lebanon’s state institutions, defuse social and sectarian tensions, and put an end to a deadly political paralysis.

Yet, although Lebanon’s long journey to chart a more hopeful future has received a much needed boost with the election of a new head of state, the far more challenging work—including the nomination of a new prime minister, the formation of future cabinets, the promulgation of a new electoral law, and political reconciliation among the country’s key factions—starts immediately. If history is any indication, the road ahead will be rocky.

But first,

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