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Lebanon president vote to be delayed again-sources - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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BEIRUT, (Reuters) – Lebanon’s divided parliament is unlikely to hold a session this week to vote on a new president because rival leaders are still deadlocked over a compromise candidate, political sources said on Wednesday.

Parliament was due to meet on Friday in another attempt at electing a successor to former President Emile Lahoud, whose term ended last week.

The vote has already been postponed five times because leaders of the Western-backed ruling coalition and the opposition, led by Syrian-backed Hezbollah, have been unable to agree on a compromise candidate.

The sources said lack of agreement meant that opposition MPs would stay away from Friday’s session and force another delay.

Opposition MPs need to attend the assembly to secure the two-thirds quorum needed for a vote. “There has been no meaningful talks between the two camps in recent days,” a senior political source said. “There will be no session on Friday to allow for the resumption of contacts.”

Asked whether there could be an election this week, another source said: “No way.”

Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s cabinet assumed the powers of head of state on Saturday after Lahoud’s term ended with no deal despite French-led mediation efforts.

The opposition disputes the legitimacy of the anti-Syrian government and says it has no right to assume the powers of president. Siniora urged calm this week and said he would not make any “provocative” moves.

Although there has been no deal on Lahoud’s successor, the rivals have not carried out threats of unilateral action, and instead have contained the worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.

The presidency was last left vacant in 1988-1989. The crisis triggered one of the bloodiest phases in the civil war.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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