BEIRUT, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Lebanon's parliament once
again announced here Friday a postponement of its session to elect a new
president scheduled on Saturday till Jan. 12, 2008.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri made the announcement
in a statement, which is the 11th postponement of the presidential election
since Sept. 25.
Lebanon's Parliament speaker Nabih
Berri, seen here in 2006, has postponed a parliament session to vote for a
new president to January 12, 2008, his office announced
Friday. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)
situation now is no longer similar to that between Sept.25 and Nov. 22," which
was the regular election term of the parliament, said the statement, adding in
this case, article 74 of the Lebanese constitution should be applied.
According to the article, in case the presidency
became vacant, the parliament can meet to elect a new president.
The Friday postponement came as the Syrian-backed
opposition and the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority bloc remain deadlocked
over an amendment to the constitution and the shape of a future government.
The cabinet of Prime Minister Fouad Seniora had been
insisting on meeting Friday afternoon to sign a document that should be signed
by the president in spite of the strong objections by the opposition.
Berri, who is a main leader of the opposition,
stressed in the statement that there is no need for the current unconstitutional
and illegal government to amend the constitution.
The parliament was set to convene on Saturday for
electing anew president to fill the vacant post since former President Emile
Lahoud step down on Nov. 24.
But local media have predicted that the session might
not be able to convene as leaders from rival majority and opposition blocs have
failed to clinch a deal on the election.
Both the majority and the opposition on Friday also
separately issued their statements hinting that the presidential elections
session will not take place Saturday.
"It is not likely to have a session tomorrow; it is
impossible to have a session amid current political circumstances," local daily
As Safir quoted Armed Forces' MP Antoine Zahra from the majority bloc as saying.
Ali Khoraise, a lawmaker from the opposition, also
predicted that "there is very small hope to hold a session on Saturday" and
Speaker Berri is the only person who has the prerogative to postpone
The two camps have agreed in principle on Army
Commander Gen. Michel Suleiman as a sole compromise candidate for the
presidency, following a series of Arab and European mediations.
But they are still divided on how to amend the
constitution to allow for his election, as well as on the shape and policies of
the future government.
According to Lebanon's constitution, a senior public
servant has to stand down from his post two years ahead of running for the
Lebanese ruling coalition and the opposition have
been separated by a wide chasm since six of the latter's ministers resigned from
Premier Fouad Seniora's government last November.
Since then, the opposition does not acknowledge the
legality of the government which does not include Shiite ministers, claiming
violates the constitution demand of "coexistence among Lebanese sects."
The majority, on the other hand, are accusing Syria
and its allies in Lebanon of hindering the election of a