Lebanon set to get new president after 29-month vacuum

Lebanon's parliament is expected to elect 81-year-old Michel Aoun as president, ending a stalemate that left the country without a head of state for 29 months.

LEBANON (Reuters) - Twenty-six years after being forced into exile, former Lebanese President Michel Aoun is expected to be elected head of state again.

Lebanon has been without a leader for nearly 30 months.

But a new deal reached between competing factions in the parliament will make the 81-year-old Aoun president and Sunni leader Saad al-Hariri prime minister.

However, some activists doubt whether Mr Aoun will be able to forge the consensus needed for his administration to succeed.

Mr Aoun's expected election by parliament on Monday (Oct 31) is viewed as victory for his political allies Hezbollah, Iran and Syria - but a defeat for Hariri supporter Saudi Arabia.

Analysts see the change as a sign that Riyadh is retreating from Lebanese affairs

Many Lebanese hope that whoever is in charge will be able to get the country's economic and political engines moving again.