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Last Updated: Monday, 22 October 2007, 14:15 GMT 15:15 UK
Lebanon delays presidential vote
Speaker of the Lebanese parliament Nabih Berri
Berri said he was giving government and opposition time to compromise
The election of a president by Lebanese members of parliament has been postponed for a second time.

The speaker of parliament, Nabih Berri, said the delay would allow more time for efforts to find a compromise candidate for the post.

The Western-backed government and opposition groups supported by Syria have rejected each other's preferred candidate to replace Emile Lahoud.

The president's term of office expires in late November.

Nassib Lahoud: Government candidate. Former US ambassador. Leading industrialist
Michel Aoun: Opposition candidate. Former army commander who fought Syria during civil war. Returned from exile in 2005. Vocal opponent of government
Michel Suleiman: Army commander since 1998. Electing him requires constitutional amendment
Riad Salameh: Central bank governor since 1993. Widely respected at home and abroad. Election requires constitutional amendment
Boutrous Harb: Pro-government candidate. MP and former minister
Jean Obeid: Possible consensus candidate. Foreign minister 2003-2004
Mr Berri said the assembly would now meet on 12 November to choose a new president.

Mr Lahoud has said he will seek to avoid a constitutional vacuum by appointing an interim administration, headed by the army chief, if his successor is not in place by the time he steps down.

Lebanon's president, a Maronite Christian by convention, is elected by MPs rather than by a popular vote.

The foreign ministers of France, Italy and Spain visited Lebanon on Saturday in a diplomatic push for the two sides to reach agreement.

Lebanon has been locked in political crisis since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.

The anti-Syrian 14 March Movement under Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has a dwindling majority of 68 in the 128-seat Chamber of Deputies after the murders of five of its members.

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