Lebanese presidential election delayed

Nov. 10, 2007 at 5:28 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Lebanon has pushed back its presidential election by nine days, from Monday to Nov. 21, marking the third time the parliamentary balloting has been postponed.

Political sources told Alalam the delay was invoked to give rival Lebanese leaders extra time to agree on a compromise candidate.

The selection of a new president to succeed Emile Lahoud, whose term expires Nov 23, is considered crucial to easing the months-long tensions between the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and his political opponents, Alalam reported. The situation is regarded as Lebanon's worst political crisis since the 1975-90 civil wars.

A French envoy arrived in Beirut Friday in an attempt to help resolve the standoff, and French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Pascal Andriani announced Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner plans to travel to Lebanon soon.

Italy's foreign minister also is expected in Beirut within the week, adding to international efforts to remedy the political impasse.

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