Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

World Cup humiliation for host nation

Read more

DEBATE

Israel and the Palestinians: How to Break the Cycle of Violence?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Somalia : Al Shebab attack on presidential palace

Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Alps Murder wife had ex-husband who died on same day

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Brazil players should never wear 'sacred uniform' again, press says

    Read more

  • Exiled Syrian opposition elects new president

    Read more

  • Ukraine imposes new conditions on peace talks with pro-Russia rebels

    Read more

  • Sarkozy's UMP party 'almost €80 million in debt'

    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

Comments

COMMENT(S)