Michel and Wafaa Sleiman wave a goodbye to the staff and reporters at the Baabda Presidential Palace on Saturday, May 24, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Sleiman, Lebanon's 12th president, left Baabda Palace on Saturday afternoon, plunging the country into a presidential vacuum as political parties remain in deadlock over a successor.With no candidate capable of garnering the needed majority to win the presidential seat, and attempts to extent Sleiman's term ending in failure, Lebanon has now entered a presidential void for an undetermined period of time. MP Walid Jumblatt, who has strong ties with the former president, described Sleiman as an "exceptional" politician, upon his arrival to Amsheet.Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri praised Sleiman' achievements during his tenure, saying Lebanon should take advantage of the regional situation to elect a new president as soon as possible."The regional situation now is different and Lebanon has an opportunity, we hope there is an urgency in electing a new president because the summer season is promising and so is Lebanon's security situation," he said.During his farewell speech Saturday, Sleiman called for constitutional reforms that would expand the authority of the president.
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