Lebanon presidential vote seen delayed by crisis

Other News Materials 23 September 2007 18:53 (UTC +04:00)

(Reuters) A Lebanese presidential election scheduled for this week will be postponed until October because rival leaders have yet to agree on a compromise candidate to replace the pro-Syrian incumbent, political sources say.

Parliament has been called on Tuesday to elect a successor to President Emile Lahoud but the vote cannot take place then without agreement on a figure acceptable to both anti-Syrian leaders and their Damascus-backed rivals.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri , a close ally of Syria, is expected to call another session in October, giving the sides more time to reach a deal which would help end Lebanon's worst political conflict since the 1975-1990 civil war .

Lahoud's term expires on November 23.

Anti-Syrian lawmakers, their slim majority reduced by the killing of Christian MP Antoine Ghanem last week, have said they will show up on Tuesday, when security around parliament in central Beirut is expected to be extremely tight.

But a two-thirds quorum needed for the vote will not be met without the opposition.

Led by Shi'ite Muslim factions including the Syrian-backed Hezbollah, the opposition wants a deal on a candidate in order to secure their attendance at the first presidential election since the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon in 2005.