Parliament elects army chief as president

? Lebanon’s parliament elected a new president Sunday, taking a step to stabilize the country after a long, violent political crisis and ushering in a shift in the balance of power in favor of Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

The election of army chief Michel Suleiman brought palpable relief to ordinary Lebanese who feared in recent weeks that their country was in danger of another civil war.

Celebratory gunfire reverberated across the capital Beirut as the election results were announced in the early evening. Glittering fireworks lit the night sky over downtown a couple hours later as cars formed motorcades and honked their horns.

“He will be the savior. He is the hope for the future,” Amer Eido, 29, said of Suleiman as he watched the fireworks.