|20,000 troops deployed in Beirut |
Sat, 24 Nov 2007 11:00:23
President Emil Lahoud handed over the country's security to the army amid mounting tension in the country and the rival political camps' failure to agree on a compromise candidate to replace him.
Lahoud has said that he considers the government of PM Fuad Siniora as illegitimate.
Amid looming crisis in the country that may plunge it into another civil war, Lahoud declared the state of emergency as of November 24 and tasked the army with establishing security in Lebanon.
The Lebanese Parliament was scheduled to elect a successor for the President on Friday, but it was forced to deter the session to November 30 due to the lack of quorum required for the election.
Lahoud gone Lebanon in political hole
Sat, 24 Nov 2007 06:51:56
The former army general left office, after nine years, during an official ceremony held for him at the presidential palace in an area northeast of Beirut at midnight (2200 GMT).
Hours before his presidential powers expired, Lahoud declared that threats of a state of emergency prevail over Lebanon and he assigned the army to maintain law and order throughout the nation.
But Lahoud's decision was rejected by Prime Minister Fouad Siniora who said in a statement that the presidential measure is "not factual and not based on constitutional or legal authorities". Neither Lahoud nor the Lebanese opposition coalition led by Hezbollah recognize the legitimacy of the Siniora government.
Consequently, Lebanon with no president for the moment and no consensus between the majority and the opposition as to who should fill the power vacuum, is a country in the grips of a very tenuous security situation.
Siniora said Friday that once President Lahoud's mandate expires at midnight Friday the government will stay on to rule the country.
Earlier in the day parliament failed for the fifth time to choose a new president. National Asembly Speaker Nabi Berri said that the body will convene again next Friday to try and elect the 12th president in the country's history.
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