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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.

LEADING CANDIDATES
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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