The divided Lebanese parliament failed again to elect a president yesterday and voting was postponed until Saturday.
A statement issued by parliament's secretariat general said that Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri decided to postpone Monday's session until Saturday.
Parliament must meet to approve Army Commander General Michel Suleiman for the presidency after he won backing from both the anti-Syrian parliament majority and the opposition led by Hezbollah.
It was the ninth postponement since parliament first tried to elect a new president in September.
Majority MPs said they had struck an overnight deal with parliament speaker Nabih Berri, a leading member of the opposition, on electing the army chief as president without amending the Constitution.
"We will try to reach a solution today," Telecommunication Minister Marwan Hamade said. "A number of legal experts have come up with a formula which could lead to the election of army chief General Michel Suleiman."
MP Antoine Zahra, also from the majority, said the key to resolving the crisis was in the hands of the opposition.
A close aide to Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun doubted a vote would take place.
"Nothing has changed and there is no deal," Simon Abi Ramia said.
Newspapers were divided on the likelihood of a vote.
An-Nahar daily, close to the majority, said: "The white smoke rose overnight and the ninth session will be decisive. The chief of the army [is] to become president without a constitutional amendment."
The election is seen as a crucial step toward ending a long-running crisis that has paralyzed the country and left the presidency vacant since Nov. 23, when incumbent Emile Lahoud stepped down with no elected successor.
Although rival parties have agreed in principle to elect Suleiman, they have been bickering on how to amend the constitution to allow a senior public servant to become president.
They also disagree on the make-up of the new government and on who would be appointed to top security posts.
Washington at the weekend dispatched one of its top envoys to the country to meet the rival leaders and press them to end their standoff, which marks the country's worst political crisis since the end of the 1975 to 1990 civil war.
"The United States believes that it is time now to elect a new president," US Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs David Welch said. "There is no reason for any further delay."
POINT-BLANK RANGE: Reporters and camera people from several outlets say police officers in Minneapolis had fired tear gas and rubber bullets directly at them Multiple journalists on the ground in Minnesota said they were teargassed and subject to other attacks by police on Saturday evening, a day after the widely condemned arrest of a CNN reporter live on air. Los Angeles Times journalist Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who was reporting outside the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis, said she was with a group of about a dozen journalists when the Minnesota State Patrol “fired tear gas canisters on us at point blank range.” “I was saying: ‘Where do we go?’ They did not tell us where to go. They didn’t direct us. They just fired on us,” she said
For nearly a decade, the UN Security Council has been frequently paralyzed by Russia’s obstinacy over the Syrian crisis. Today, however, it is the US-China rivalry that has infected a growing array of issues, according to officials and diplomats. As recently as 2017, an understanding between Washington and Beijing allowed the UN on three occasions — involving separate sets of economic sanctions — to project international unity in the face of the North Korean nuclear threat. Three years later, the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a ferocious competition erupt between the UN’s two main contributors, prompting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May
HISTORIC FLIGHT: The astronauts named their capsule ‘Endeavour,’ after the space shuttle on which they both flew, while Elon Musk said he was overcome with emotion Two veteran NASA astronauts headed for the International Space Station (ISS) yesterday after Elon Musk’s SpaceX on Saturday became the first commercial company to launch a rocket carrying humans into orbit, ushering in a new era in space travel. SpaceX’s two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off flawlessly in a cloud of bright orange flames and smoke from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, for a 19-hour voyage to the space station. “Let’s light this candle,” Hurley, the mission commander, told SpaceX mission control in Hawthorne, California, before liftoff at 3:22pm from NASA’s
INDIA Pride to be preserved The nation would not let its “pride be hurt” in its latest border flare-ups with China, but is determined to settle the dispute through talks, Minister of Defense Rajnath Singh said in a television interview late on Saturday. “Situations arise with China. It has happened before,” Singh said, adding that the government was striving to make sure “tension does not escalate.” The government has turned down US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate, he said. IRAN Speaker says talks futile Newly elected Parliament Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf yesterday said that any negotiations with the US would be “futile.” The nation’s