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Will Beirut bombing spur Lebanon into finding a new president?

The attacks in Beirut have opened a window for consensus, and it is likely that presidential hopefuls Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea will stand aside to make room for a third, less divisive candidate.

The last day Lebanon had a president was May 24, 2014. For a year and half, the country known for its sectarian-driven politics has gone not only without a president, but with a resigned, caretaker government, and a parliament that has twice extended its own term. The first time they did so was in May 2013, when the elections were postponed from June to November 2014. Lebanon’s parliament members voted again on Nov. 5, 2014, in favor of extending their mandate for another two years.

Several challenges tripped up the country’s ruling elite and left it unable to make decisions. Even when dozens of military and internal security personnel were abducted by al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS), no firm action was taken, nor was there when garbage flooded the streets.

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