Page last updated at 22:17 GMT, Sunday, 25 May 2008 23:17 UK

In pictures: Lebanon elects leader

Celebrations in Michel Suleiman's hometown of Aamchit, north of Beirut, as he is elected president.

People in Lebanon are celebrating the election of a new president, ending months of political deadlock which culminated in some of the worse violence since the 15-year civil war.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman is sworn in

New Lebanese President Michel Suleiman was sworn in after MPs elected him in the wake of a deal which ended an 18-month stalemate between the country's political factions.

Lebanese MPs vote for Michel Suleiman as president

All sides had agreed to back army chief Gen Suleiman, who stood unopposed, as a compromise candidate, after 19 failed attempts to elect a head of state since November.

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman passes honour guard outside parliament

Gen Suleiman is seen as a trusted figure who has preserved the army's neutrality amid clashes between the pro-Syrian opposition led by Hezbollah and the Western-backed outgoing governing coalition.

Wafaa Suleiman (second right), wife of Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, watches the elections with family members in Suleiman's Beirut house

Like many Lebanese, Gen Suleiman's wife and relatives followed the ceremony on television. Correspondents say many in the country are relieved to finally have a president after six months without one.

Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri, right, receives Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, left at Beirut Airport

Foreign dignitaries attending the ceremony included the Emir of Qatar, who mediated the deal which paved the way for the vote, as well as the foreign ministers of Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and France.

Flags in Michel Suleiman's hometown of Aamchit, north of Beirut, as he is elected president.

The vote follows an outbreak of violence between rival factions, which left at least 65 people dead and raised fears that internal strife in the multi-confessional nation was spiralling out of control.

Fireworks in Michel Suleiman's hometown of Aamchit, north of Beirut, as he is elected president.

But after Sunday's vote, fireworks lit up the sky and celebratory gunshots rang out, in stark contrast to the torched buildings and weapons fire Lebanon has seen in recent weeks.




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