25 May 2008

*Gen. Sleiman Elected as the 11th President for Lebanon

Michel Suleiman was declared Lebanon's 11 th President with 118 votes, six MPs abstained, one voted for MP Nassib Lahoud, one voted for Jean Obeid and one voted for Rafik Hariri and Martyrs!! (Don't ask what's this last one means!)

Lebanon's army chief and presidential candidate General Michel Sleiman smiles during a gathering at his family home in Feyyadieh, east of Beirut. Sleiman appealed for unity on Sunday after being sworn in as president following a parliament vote that capped a long-running political crisis in the country.

Lebanon's newly elected President Michel Suleiman reviews the honour guard upon his arrival to parliament in Beirut May 25, 2008.

Lebanese army chief Michel Sleiman poses for a photo at his office in Yarze near Beirut on May 21. Lebanese lawmakers are poised to elect Sleiman as president in a first step toward defusing a crippling and often deadly 18-month standoff between rival factions.

Lebanon's newly elected President Michel Suleiman (top) speaks, as Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad al-Thani (R) listens and house speaker Nabih Berri (C) looks on, after the election session at parliament in Beirut, May 25, 2008

Suleiman was sworn-in immediately after he was elected with 118 votes out of 127

Suleiman was the only consensus candidate

Here is a list of the Lebanese former presidents

Bechara El Khoury SERVED FROM 21 September 1943 TO 18 September 1952
Camille Chamoun SERVED FROM 23 September 1952 TO 22 September 1958
Fouad Chehab SERVED FROM 23 September 1958 TO 22 September 1964
Charles Helou SERVED FROM 23 September 1964 TO 22 September 1970
Suleiman Frangieh SERVED FROM 23 September 1970 TO 22 September 1976
Elias Sarkis SERVED FROM 23 September 1976 TO 22 September 1982
Bachir Gemayel Elected 23 August 1982 KILLED 14 September 1982
Amine Gemayel SERVED FROM 23 September 1982 TO: 22 September 1988
Rene Moawad SERVED FROM 5 November 1989 KILLED 22 November 1989
Elias Hrawi SERVED FROM 24 November 1989 TO 24 November 1998
Emile Lahoud SERVED FROM 24 November 1998 TO 23 November 2007

Many argue that Suleiman is the 12 th president and not the 11th . But president elect Bachir Gemayel never served as president .He was elected on 23 August 1982 and his term should have started on Nov 22 , 1982 but was assassinated on 14 September 1982. Syria was blamed for his assassination and the assassination of former president Rene Moawad who only served for 17 days

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.