Finally a President Is Elected in Lebanon

The Lebanese parliament elected 81-year-old Michel Aoun, pictured in 2015, as president Oct. 31, ending a two-and-a-half-year power vacuum. (CNS photo/Nabil Mounzer, EPA)

Cardinal Bechara Rai, patriarch of Maronite Catholics, welcomed the election of a new Lebanese president, ending a two-and-a-half-year power vacuum that had crippled the country’s government institutions. The cardinal also expressed his hope for the acceleration of a unified government and “direct action to save Lebanon from political, economic and social suffering.” He urged newly elected President Michel Aoun and other politicians to heed the words of the apostle Paul, to forget what lies behind and to forge ahead to the future. Under Lebanon's power-sharing system, the presidential post is reserved for a Maronite Catholic. Aoun, 81, elected on Oct. 31, is the only Christian head of state in the Arab world. Aoun’s election follows 45 successive failed attempts by the legislators to elect a president since the term of former President Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014, a reflection of the sectarian power struggle that defines the country’s political arena.

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