Michel AounFormer Lebanese army chief, Michel Aoun, has been elected president, after 29 months of vacancy in the seat.

According to a tally of votes read out in a televised broadcast from parliament on Monday. Aoun, 81, secured the presidency by winning the support of 83 MPs. This is well above the absolute majority of 65 needed to win.

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Meanwhile, fireworks echoed across Beirut as the tally showed Aoun the winner.

Michel Aoun Returns 26 years After

Michel Suleiman had stepped down as president at the end of his term in May 2014. Since then, 45 sessions to elect a new leader have failed due to a lack of quorum.

Meanwhile, more than 100 of the 128-member legislature had arrived at the parliament building today. This was a guarantee that the needed quorum is set for the session to start.

Lebanese forces tightened security in downtown Beirut in the lead-up to the parliament vote. Army helicopters flew over the city and cars were banned from entering most of central Beirut.

Also, metal detectors were set up in the streets around the parliament building.

The Lebanese presidency is reserved for a Maronite Christian in the country’s sectarian power-sharing system

Thousands of Aoun’s party supporters gathered in major squares and streets of Christian areas for celebrations.

81 year-old Aoun will become Lebanon’s 13th president since the country gained independence from France in 1943.

He therefore returns to the presidential palace 26 years after he was forced out of it by a rival commander.