Lebanon Backs General as Prez Candidate

Government moves to break deadlock
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 3, 2007 4:15 AM CST
Emile Lahoud, right, whose term as president of Lebanon expired November 23, shakes hands with Army commander Gen. Michel Suleiman, left, in this picture taken on Thursday Nov. 22, 2007. Suleiman has...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Lebanese government is attempting to clear a deadlock over who will run the nation by approving Lebanon's army chief as a presidential candidate. Gen. Michel Suleiman has provisional support from both the right-wing Christian ruling party and the Hezbollah-led opposition. His selection would require a constitutional amendment endorsed by the cabinet, because retiring public servants are required to wait two years before becoming president.

Lebanon has been without a leader since the previous president's term ended last month, while the pro-Western government and Syria-backed opposition sparred over the office. Suleiman's Christian opponent supports the general's candidacy, but has requested he step down four years early, in 2009, and that the prime minister be party neutral. A vote is scheduled for Friday.