Following months of political unrest, the commander of the Lebanese Army was elected by 118 MPs in the 128-seat parliament.

In his inaugural address, Suleiman raised a number of issues, such as the arms held by the militant Shia group Hezbollah, ‘distinguished and balanced relations’ with Lebanon’s neighbour, Syria, and justice for Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister assassinated in 2005.

President Lahoud, the previous president, finished his term in office on 23 November 2007, but no successor was elected.

In December, rival leaders agreed on Suleiman for the role, but formal elections were delayed 19 times during December 2007 and May 2008.

The ceremony was attended by numerous international dignitaries, including the Syrian foreign minister, Walid Muallem, and the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki.