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Cablegate: Lebanon: Session to Elect a New President Adjourned To

P 231316Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0295
INFO ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS BEIRUT 001845

SIPDIS

NSC FOR ABRAMS/SINGH/GAVITO/HARDING

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV LE
SUBJECT: LEBANON: SESSION TO ELECT A NEW PRESIDENT ADJOURNED TO
NOVEMBER 30


1. (SBU) On November 23, the Lebanese Parliament failed to elect a
new president, even with the looming expiration of President
Lahoud's extended mandate, which expires on midnight of November 23.
Some 109 parliamentarians of 127 showed up in Parliament, but only
66 parliamentarians were present inside the Chamber. The session
was quickly adjourned, and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri
announced that another session was scheduled for November 30.

2. (U) Deputy Speaker of Parliament Farid Makkari, on behalf of the
March 14 alliance, read a prepared statement in which he indicated
that the majority is "committed to the requirements of national
stability and will neither take a position that will threaten
stability nor will it give up on its constitutional right to elect a
new president." He also indicated that a boycott of the session
would represent a clear violation of the Constitution.

3. (SBU) Prior to the postponement of the session, majority leader
MP Saad Hariri and Druze leader Walid Jumblatt met separately with
Speaker Berri at his office. This is the first meeting between
Jumblatt and Berri for more than a year. Minister of Information
Ghazi Aridi, a Jumblatt ally, told us that the meeting was brief and
the discussion focused on preserving the security and stability of
the country. Following the meeting Jumblatt made a public statement
which emphasized consensus and expressed his commitment to the
Lebanese Constitution.
FELTMAN

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