Photo: AFP
Berri (L) with Siniora
Photo: AFP
Lebanese presidential vote delayed to Nov. 12
Parliament Speaker Berri says move aimed at allowing more time for rival groups to agree on a compromise candidate

Lebanon's presidential election had been postponed from Tuesday to Nov. 12, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said in a statement on Monday.


Berri said the delay was to allow more time for rival groups to agree on a compromise candidate to be elected by parliament to replace pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud, whose term expires on Nov. 23.


It is the second postponement in electing a president, a step seen as vital to resolving a one-year-old crisis pitting the anti-Syrian ruling majority against the opposition, led by pro-Syrian Hizbullah.


There are fears that if no president is elected before Lahoud's term expires, Lebanon would end up with two rival governments and bloodshed. The political crisis is the worst since the 1975-1990 civil war.


Opposition MPs boycotted parliament on Sept. 25 to prevent a two-thirds quorum and thwart anti-Syrian factions, which have a slim majority, from electing a new head of state.


Prime Minister Fouad Siniora's backers, including the US and Saudi Arabia, want to replace Lahoud with one of their own.


Hizbullah and its allies in the opposition want to deny the presidency to their rivals, whom they regard as puppets of the United States.


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