Lebanon: MPs convene but election of president delayed
Lebanon's parliament convened on Tuesday under tight security for a session aimed at electing a new president but the session was adjourned till October 23 amid deep crisis on choosing a consensus candidate. "The session has been adjourned till October 23 at 10:00 am," deputy Parliament Speaker Farid Makari announced.
According to AFP, checkpoints were also set up throughout the city creating traffic jams, and many businesses were shut. Lawmakers from the ruling majority were escorted to the parliament building under strict security in light of the latest killing last week of one of their members in a car bombing. Although parliament speaker Nabih Berri has summoned rival factions to convene, it was clear that Tuesday's session would not lead to a actual vote but would allow for consultations among the rival parties.
Newspapers described the session, the first in nearly a year, as a key moment that could help to end a long-running political deadlock that has paralyzed the country and threatened its stability.
While acknowledging that a vote would not take place on Tuesday, Berri has expressed optimism that Lebanon's parties would strike a compromise by the deadline in two months when incumbent President Emile Lahoud's term ends. MPs have between September 24 and November 24 to choose a candidate to replace Lahoud.
A two-thirds majority is needed for a candidate to be elected by parliament in the first round of voting. In the event of a second round a simple majority is enough.
Opposition parties -- Hizbullah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement of Michel Aoun -- said some of their deputies would be in the parliament building on Tuesday. All in all, 62 opposition MPs arrived at Parliament building.