Lebanon's presidential election delayed again
Lebanon's presidential election was postponed for a ninth time Monday, to Saturday, December 22, despite last-minute international efforts to convince rival parties to strike a deal, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced. "The parliament session that was scheduled today has been postponed to Saturday, December 22," Mohamed Ballout, Berri's spokesman, told reporters, according to AFP.
The delay, the ninth since September, came amid intense efforts by the United States, France and other countries to convince the ruling March 14 majority and the Hizbullah-led opposition to proceed to a vote and avoid further destabilizing the country.
MPs gathered in parliament Monday amid uncertainty over the presidential elections due to the ongoing power struggle between the feuding political parties. March 14 MPs said they had struck an overnight deal with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, a leading member of the opposition, on electing Army Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman as president without amending the constitution. "We will try to reach a solution today," Telecommunication Minister Marwan Hamade said.
March 14 MP Antoine Zahra said the key to resolving the crisis was in the hands of the opposition.
A close aide to Christian opposition leader Gen. Michel Aoun doubted a vote would take place. "Nothing has changed and there is no deal," Simon Abi Ramia told AFP.