Lebanon vote postponed for the 13th time

Lebanon's presidential election was postponed from Monday to February 11, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said on Sunday.

Gulf News

Beirut : Lebanon's presidential election was postponed from today to February 11, the parliament speaker said on Sunday, announcing the 13th delay of a vote blocked by the country's political crisis.

Rival Lebanese leaders have agreed on army chief General Michel Sulaiman as the candidate to fill the presidency, which has been vacant since November 23 when the term of pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud expired.

But Sulaiman's confirmation by the election in parliament has been held up because the anti-Syrian governing coalition and its Damascus-backed opponents are at odds over the make-up of a government that will take office after the vote.

Berri said in a statement that the delay was to give more time for talks as part of an Arab initiative to end the worst political crisis since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa said: "The Arab initiative has not hit a wall. Rather, perhaps it has reached a closed door that can be opened." Speaking after talks with Berri, Mousa said that time was ''short so we must move quickly towards consensus and an election", adding that "the matter requires a lot of work".

The opposition, led by Hezbollah, has threatened civil disobedience if the political conflict is not resolved, increasing the risk of violence if there is no end to a standoff that began in November, 2006.