Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Two candidates emerge from Lebanon deadlock

Latest update : 2008-02-14

Lebanon's presidential election was delayed again as rival political factions failed to agree on a new president. Leading candidates today are Michel Edde and Robert Ghanem.

BEIRUT, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Lebanon marked its independence
day on Thursday gripped by anxiety about the failure so far of
rival political camps and a slew of foreign mediators to clinch
agreement on a new president and avert possible violence.
 
"Last day before zero hour: either a miracle or vacuum,"
headlined the An-Nahar daily, which backs the anti-Syrian ruling
coalition headed by Sunni Muslim leader Saad al-Hariri.
Other newspapers were just as bleak about the prospects of
finding a solution ahead of a parliamentary vote on Friday, the
last day of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud's term.
 
The election, first slated for Sept. 25, has already been
put off four times. If the assembly again fails to meet, a
constitutional abyss would yawn before Lebanon, already mired in
its worst political crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.
 
"There are early indications that the session will not be
held tomorrow," said opposition politician Michel al-Murr,
describing the situation as very complex.
 
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who has shuttled
between fractious Lebanese politicians since Sunday, and his
Spanish counterpart Miguel Angel Moratinos visited Christian
opposition leader and presidential candidate Michel Aoun.
 
They were due to see other politicians from the pro-Syrian
opposition and the Western-backed majority later in the day.
 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy telephoned Aoun and Hariri
on Wednesday night in another sign of international concern
about a deadlock that could further destabilise Lebanon.
 
Troops and police tightened security in Beirut ahead of the
parliamentary session. There was no military parade or other
events to mark the 64th anniversary of Lebanon's independence.
 
"We will still wait for a president ... because we don't
want to despair of the nation and the state that is about to
become a memory," said an editorial in the pro-opposition
As-safir daily.
 
The Hezbollah-led opposition says it won't go to parliament
without prior agreement on a candidate, who must be a Maronite
Christian under Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system.
 
The ruling coalition holds only a slim majority and the
opposition says the vote requires two thirds of the MPs.
 
If no president is elected, the outgoing Lahoud has vowed to
take unspecified measures to guarantee Lebanon's unity. These
could include handing power to the army, rather than to the
existing government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.
 
Lahoud and the opposition say Siniora's government lost its
legitimacy when all its Shi'ite ministers resigned last year.
 
The majority bloc argues that Siniora's government would
automatically take over presidential powers until a new head of
state can be elected. Some of its members favour using their
majority to pick a president in the absence of a deal.
 
"We are still hopeful of reaching a consensus," said
Mohammad Raad, head of Hezbollah's parliamentary bloc.
 
"If (Lahoud's) term ends without consensus, the opposition
will take its rolling measures in response to those of the other
side," he told reporters after meeting the president, without
revealing the well-armed Shi'ite group's plans.

Date created : 2007-11-27

COMMENT(S)