Election of Lebanese president delayed for the 12th time
A 12th parliamentary session to elect Lebanon's president was postponed on Friday to January 21 despite international efforts for rival parties to agree on an Arab League compromise. "Saturday's session has been postponed until Monday, January 21 at noon," Ali Hamdan, spokesman for parliament speaker Nabih Berri, told AFP.
According to him, Berri decided to delay the session after meeting with Arab League chief Amr Mussa, who has been holding talks with Lebanese leaders since Wednesday. "Because the negotiations are ongoing, the speaker decided to postpone the vote," Hamdan said.
Mussa was expected to leave Beirut on Saturday.
Officials from both the ruling Western-backed majority and the Hizbullah-led opposition had earlier projected that the vote would not take place due to the continued standoff between the two sides. "Everything indicates that tomorrow's (Saturday's) session will meet the same fate as the 11 previous ones and be postponed," Elias Atallah, a deputy with the ruling majority, told AFP.
Lebanon has been without a president since Emile Lahoud stepped down on November 23.
The Arab initiative is based on a three-point plan that calls for the election of army chief General Michel Suleiman as president, the formation of a national unity government in which no one party has veto power and the adoption of a new electoral law.