Lebanon to elect president but divisions run deep

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BEIRUT: Lebanon’s parliament is set to end more than two years of stalemate on Monday by electing ex-general Michel Aoun as president, but the vote is unlikely to heal deep political divisions. Aoun, a Christian former army chief, is allied with the powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah movement whose forces are fighting in Syria alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s government. But his election has been made possible by the surprise endorsement of former prime minister Saad Hariri, a fierce opponent of Syria’s government and head of a bloc that is Hezbollah’s key rival and has received regional support from Saudi Arabia. So, while a deal has been made on the country’s next president, analysts say Lebanon’s key political blocs still disagree on almost everything else. Aoun is expected to nominate Hariri to return as prime minister, but with little consensus in the political landscape, the process of forming a government is likely to be long and arduous.

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AFP

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