Lebanon's parliament is set to end more than two years of stalemate on Monday by electing a new president for a non-renewable six-year term.
The post is always held by a Maronite Christian under a power-sharing agreement dating back to independence in 1943.
According to the same deal, the head of parliament is always a Shiite Muslim and the prime minister a Sunni Muslim.
The president plays the role of a referee, but his power has been limited in a system based on a delicate balance between Lebanon's different communities.
Speaker Nabih Berri has summoned lawmakers on October 31 for the vote, which will go ahead if a quorum of two-thirds is reached.
The 128-member legislature counts 127 lawmakers at the moment after one member resigned over the summer.
The successful candidate wins the vote with a majority of two-thirds in the first round, or with an absolute majority in the next rounds.
The only Christian head of state in the Arab world saw his powers curtailed after the 1989 Taef agreement to end the 1975-1990 civil war.
Under the accord, which sought to balance power between Lebanon's Christian and Muslim communities, the president can no longer appoint and dismiss the prime minister or dissolve parliament.
He names the premier after consulting parliament.
The president heads the armed forces, but these also come under the authority of the cabinet.
He negotiates international treaties along with the prime minister, but these also need approval from government.
He presides over cabinet meetings and can introduce an urgent matter to be discussed, but does not take part in any cabinet vote.