Lebanon presidential vote postponed

Dec. 17, 2007 at 5:15 PM
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The Lebanese parliament postponed voting to approve a new president until Saturday after the body failed to reach a consensus on the issue Monday.

The parliament majority and opposition have agreed to elect army commander Gen. Michel Sleiman to the presidency but the process has been held up by disagreements regarding how to amend the country's constitution to allow a high-ranking military officer to hold the office, Alalam Satellite TV reported Monday.

Monday's postponement was the ninth since the legislature first tried to elect a new president in September. The office has been vacant since the term of the previous leader, Emile Lahoud, expired Nov. 23.

The appointment of a new president is seen by many in the country as a necessary step toward repairing divisions in the nation and ending a crisis that has resulted in the deaths of multiple politicians and journalists since Lahoud stepped down.

Brig. Gen. Francois al-Hajj, who had been chosen to replace Sleiman as army chief once he assumed the presidency, became the latest fatality when he was killed in a car bomb attack last week.

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