Lebanon presidential election to be delayed again
Lebanese leaders will delay a parliamentary vote to elect a new president until Friday to give politicians more time to agree a successor to the incumbent presiden, whose term expires that day, a political source told Reuters.
Parliament had been due to convene on Wednesday to elect the successor to President Emile Lahoud, but the senior political source told Reuters the vote would be delayed in the fourth postponement since September. Failure by politicians to agree on a new head of state would deepen a year-long political crisis.
Soldiers tightened security in and around Beirut, manning roadblocks and deploying armoured vehicles around government buildings, a senior security source said. "The army has started security arrangements," he said.
"Any attack on security is national treason and any weapon directed internally is a treacherous weapon," army chief General Michel Suleiman said in a statement to soldiers to mark Independence Day which will be observed on Thursday.
Suleiman told the army to pay no attention to arguments "which have almost split the country into scattered parts".