Lebanese MPs divided over presidential election

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Lebanon’s parliament begins the process of electing a new president today which is the preserve of the country’s Maronite Christians. But with no obvious consensus candidate many lawmakers are expected to submit blank voting slips in the first round.

The political deadlock is due to divisions over the conflict in neighbouring Syria.
Candidate Samir Geagea is a vocal opponent of Syria’s President Assad and as such is unlikely to garner support from the Hezbollah-backed parliamentary group.

Michel Aoun who although an ally of Hezbollah is still seen as a potentially unifying figure but has not formally declared he is in the running for the job.

Future rounds of voting could also see other candidates entering the race.

Whoever replaces President Michel Suleiman whose six-year term ends in May, must try to stabilise a country hit by violence and hosting a million Syrian refugees.

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