- Disagreements between political alliances had left Lebanon without a president since 2014
- Michel Aoun, onetime disputed president, was welcomed to palace with 21-gun salute
Michel Aoun is slated to be sworn in as the country's president Monday, ending a political stalemate that had left the country without a head of state for more than two years.
"The President expressed his thanks to the Prime Minister and all ministers, and requested that the Cabinet [act] as a caretaker until the formation of a new Cabinet," Aoun said in a statement.
A Maronite Christian known as "The General," Aoun is a politically-divisive figure who is affiliated with Hezbollah and other members of the political coalition known as the March 8 Alliance, which ruled Lebanon between mid-2011 and early 2013.
The two-and-a-half-year political void was the product of disagreements between the March 8 Alliance and the anti-Syrian March 14 Alliance led by ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his Sunni Lebanese Future Movement.
Hariri, the son of slain former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
, and who has close ties to Saudi Arabia, backed Aoun's nomination in a move that could be seen as a political win for Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies.
Under Lebanon's constitution, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister must be a Sunni and the speaker of the parliament must be a Shiite Muslim.
Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement is the main party in the March 8 Alliance and the second-largest party in Lebanon, behind the Future Movement.
He won 84 votes in the first round of voting, not quite enough to secure the necessary two-thirds majority in the 128-seat parliament, according to the Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Manar television station
In a second round, Aoun surpassed the 50%-plus-one quorum requirement with 83 votes, Al-Manar reported.
During Lebanon's civil war, Aoun's battalion fought pro-Syria forces. He became the country's president in 1988, although some factions disputed it. He was