(BBC) - Lebanon's presidential election has been postponed for a third time, until 21 November, parliament speaker Nabih Berri has announced.
He said more time was needed to find a compromise candidate acceptable to both the Western-backed government and opposition groups supported by Syria.
President Emile Lahoud is due to leave office on 24 November.
He plans to appoint an interim administration, headed by the army chief, if no successor has been chosen.
Lebanon's president, a Maronite Christian by convention, is elected by members of parliament rather than by a popular vote.
The election has been postponed twice already as rival camps - the anti-Syrians and the pro-Syrians - try to hammer out an agreement outside parliament.
The anti-Syrian camp has a majority in parliament for the first time in decades and wants to use it to install someone from its bloc as president.
The pro-Syrian opposition accuses the majority of doing America's bidding in Lebanon and insists on a compromise candidate, someone who will protect the Shia militant group Hezbollah.
There are fears that if Lebanon fails to elect a new president, it could plunge into a constitutional vacuum and possibly civil strife.