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Michel Aoun Tuesday began his six-year term as Lebanon's 13th president after gaining an absolute majority in Parliament, gearing up for consultations later this week with various blocs on designating a new prime minister to form a Cabinet to tackle challenges facing the country.The FPM and the Future Movement have reached a political deal to end the 29-month presidential vacuum, calling for supporting Aoun for president and naming Hariri prime minister."We hope that a national unity government will be formed with the participation of all the parties," Hariri told reporters on the stairs of the Parliament building following Aoun's election. He said the election of Aoun to the presidency was the beginning to put an end to the 2-1/2-year presidential vacuum. Nabih Berri declared Aoun an elected president after he managed to secure 83 votes in the second round of voting when he needed only 65 votes to win.Berri, who had opposed Aoun's election, expressed hope that the era of the newly elected president would turn a new page in Lebanon's history.Members of Parliament broke out in applause after Aoun was finally declared president by Berri.The U.S. State Department hailed Aoun's election.
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