The parliamentary vote for a new Lebanese president has been postponed for the seventh time.
was postponed again on Friday, despite rival leaders' agreement
in principle to give the post to army chief Michel Suleiman in a
step that would ease the country's deep political crisis.
downtown Beirut for a 1 p.m. (1100 GMT) session, only for it to
be called off until noon (1000 GMT) on Tuesday, the seventh
delay since the first attempt to hold the vote on Sept. 25.
opposition, announced the delay in a statement read on his
behalf after holding talks with majority leader Saad al-Hariri.
believe they are within reach of a broad power-sharing agreement
that would ensure a two-thirds quorum for parliament to elect
Hezbollah-led opposition, brokered by French Foreign Minister
Bernard Kouchner this week, have failed to clinch a deal on how
to amend the constitution to allow Suleiman to take the job.
demands, has also yet to give his consent.
needed," one political source said.
Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system, has been empty since
pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud left office on Nov. 23.
and his allies dropped their insistence on electing a candidate
clearly opposed to Syrian influence in Lebanon.
appointed to his post in 1998 when Syria controlled Lebanon.
spectrum for keeping the army neutral and curbing outbreaks of
civil strife. He also won prestige from a 15-week army battle
with Islamist fighters in a Palestinian refugee camp this year.
to be a more unifying president than Lahoud, also a former army
chief, whose term was extended in 2004 at Syria's behest.
involving Western-backed factions and Hezbollah, allied to Syria
and Iran, that has paralysed Lebanon for more than a year.
Shi'ite opposition faction Amal, have met in the past few days
in the presence of Kouchner, who has been shuttling between
rival leaders to try to break the deadlock.
to try to calm Lebanese disputes over the presidency.
for electing Suleiman, shaping a national unity government and
plans for a new law ahead of a 2009 parliamentary election.
Hezbollah's main Christian ally, that the next prime minister be
a neutral figure, although his opposition colleagues were ready
to accept a candidate chosen by the ruling majority.
size of his parliamentary bloc, the biggest Christian faction.
amend the constitution, which bans senior public servants from
running for office, to allow Suleiman to be elected.
Siniora, while Hariri insists any move should go through the
government. The opposition says Siniora's cabinet lost its
legitimacy when all its Shi'ite members resigned last year.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday he had
urged Lebanese leaders to move quickly to elect a president.
Date created : 2007-12-07