Lebanon Picks Prez, Ends 6-Month Crisis

But foreign policy, Hezbollah arsenal still divide nation
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2008 5:26 PM CDT
Lebanon Picks Prez, Ends 6-Month Crisis
Saad Hariri, leader of the Lebanese majority, left, walks next the UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, right, upon their arrival at the Lebanese Parliament.    (Associated Press)

Lebanon elected its first leader in 6 months today by naming Gen. Michel Suleiman as president, the Washington Post reports. Fireworks filled the sky to a chorus of car honks after Suleiman secured the post with a near-unanimous 118 of 127 parliamentary votes. But the nation remains torn between US-Saudi backing and the forces of Hezbollah.

Leaders are still divided over foreign policy and Hezbollah's arsenal; the new pact gives Hezbollah veto power over the new cabinet. Suleiman, an ex-army commander, emerged as a Hezbollah candidate until winning over government support. Seeking to mend fences, he told a cheering crowd today that "the gun should only be pointed against the enemy." (More Hezbollah stories.)

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