The Lebanese parliament finally elected General Michel Suleiman as president in May 2008 after six months of political stalemate that followed the departure of the previous president, Emile Lahoud, in November 2007.
The agreement that paved the way for his election ended some of the worst factional violence since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.
As mounting clashes raised fears of a renewed civil war, the Western-backed government and the Hezbollah-led opposition agreed on General Suleiman - the head of the country's armed forces - as a compromise candidate.
On taking office, the new president hailed the opening of a new phase in Lebanese history, saying that his fellow countrymen had "refused to succumb to self-destruction".
General Suleiman stood unopposed for the presidency, and is widely seen as a unifying figure, whose apparent neutrality has earned him the respect of both sides of the political divide. He is credited with having kept the army on the sidelines in times of political crisis.
He is a Maronite Christian, and so his election also met the requirement of Lebanon's complex power-sharing system that the presidency should be held by a member of that sect.
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"Lebanon Government Stats", NationMaster. Retrieved from http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Lebanon/Government
"Lebanon Government Stats, NationMaster." 1943-2014. <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Lebanon/Government>.
'Lebanon Government Stats, NationMaster', <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Lebanon/Government> [assessed 1943-2014]
"Lebanon Government Stats", NationMaster [Internet]. 1943-2014. Avaliable from: <http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Lebanon/Government>.
"Lebanon Government Stats", NationMaster. Avaliable at: nationmaster.com. Assessed 1943-2014.
"Lebanon Government Stats, NationMaster," http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Lebanon/Government (assessed 1943-2014)
"Lebanon Government Stats", NationMaster, http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Lebanon/Government (last visited 1943-2014)
"Lebanon Government Stats", NationMaster, http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/profiles/Lebanon/Government (as of 1943-2014)