Lebanon: Presidential election to be delayed again
A parliamentary vote to elect new Lebanese president is set to be delayed again as politicians wrangle over the possibility of choosing the army chief, officials said Thursday. It would be the sixth time that a vote has been put off.
"There will probably be no election tomorrow," MP Butros Harb, a leading Christian figure of the ruling majority, told AFP. Lebanon has been without a president since Friday.
Since Wednesday, negotiations have been held on the election of General Michel Sleiman, commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
According to AFP, MP Ali Hassan Khalil, close to opposition leader and parliament speaker Nabih Berri, said "the call for the session still stands, but it is most probably not going to take place in order to give more time for a consensus on ... Sleiman or somebody else."
MP Salim Aoun, a member of the Free Patriotic Movement of opposition Christian leader Michel Aoun, conveyed "there is nothing new, so we cannot say that there will be presidential elections tomorrow." "Undoubtedly, there will be no election tomorrow."
Asked if the opposition would back Sleiman's candidacy, he said "we have to study the majority's intentions first, as I think that proposing Sleiman's name is but a manoeuvre because their leaders have not yet taken a clear stand on that subject."
In any case, Naharnet reported that Suleiman is seen as a "neutral figure" in Lebanon. He is also seen as strong enough to ensure neither side dominates the other.