Lebanon Picks No Prez Today

Streets quiet over civil war fears as sides negotiate
By Rob Wagner,  Newser User
Posted Nov 22, 2007 5:40 PM CST
France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, left, gestures as he speaks with Arab League chief Amr Moussa, right, and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, center, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Lebanon's parties failed to pick a new president today, leaving them 24 hours to find a replacement before President Emile Lahoud's term ends, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lahoud has said the army chief may take over if sides remain deadlocked tomorrow at midnight—a turn that could spark blocs to pick their own candidates and set off civil war, officials fear.

Army checkpoints kept Beirut's streets quiet today as billboards asked people "not to let it”—civil war—“happen again.” Washington, which has trumpeted Lebanon as an example of democracy in the region, is hoping for a peaceful resolution—especially with Middle East peace talks set for Annapolis next week. But even if Lebanon’s blocs pick a new prez in time, they still must haggle over a new PM and cabinet.