A banner shows the image of Michel Aoun, a former general who was selected as president by Lebanon's parliament on October 31, 2016.
Christian leader Michel Aoun, a former army commander and strong ally of the militant Hezbollah group, is widely expected to win a two-third majority vote to become Lebanon's 13th president at Monday's session of Parliament.
Lebanon was without a head of state after Michel Suleiman terminated his presidency at the end of his term in May 2014. Since then, the deeply fractured parliament has failed more than forty times to elect a new leader because of disagreements over who should hold the country's top post.
The breakthrough came with the shock support of two of Aoun's greatest rivals: Samir Geagea, leader of the Christian Lebanese Forces, and Sunni former premier Saad Hariri. In a televised speech to lawmakers shortly before he was sworn in, a somber-looking Aoun acknowledged the challenges ahead. His critics accuse him of yielding to political blackmail by Hezbollah.
The Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul Karim attended the vote, which was seen as key in determining future relations between the two neighbouring countries.
The election of Mr Aoun is seen by many observers as a victory for Hezbollah over the Saudi and Western backed coalition in the country.
Still, the decision has benefits for Hariri.
Aoun is due to meet MPs later this week on their preferences for prime minister.
Yet, even politicians with major Saudi backing have conceded that something - anything - needs to be done to keep the peace.
Last week, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah called upon all Lebanese political parties to join forces and put a favorable end to the 30-month presidential void in the Arab country. A United Nations -backed tribunal later charged five Hezbollah members over the killing.
Metal detectors were set up in the streets around the parliament building. Hariri then moved overseas for four years, citing security concerns.
Another explanation put forward concerns the financial and political problems of Mr Hariri, a billionaire whose business interests in Lebanon and overseas are reported to be in deep trouble. A shortage of funds has led to the drying up of Hariri's financial patronage networks in Lebanon, a vital mainstay of the political system, which has dampened his popularity.
Under an unwritten pact made at the outset of Lebanon's independence in 1943, the presidency is always reserved for a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the speaker of parliament a Shiite.
- Aoun was prime minister of one of two rival Lebanese governments at the end of the 1975-90 civil war, appointed by outgoing President Amin Gemayel in 1988.
After the LF's support for Aoun, the only obstacle left was Saad Hariri, who has the largest bloc in the parliament (33 MPs.) Despite years of counter-accusations and disputes, their paths crossed and Hariri backed Aoun's presidential aspirations.