Sunday, April 22, 2007

Early jousting for the presidential election in Lebanon is underway

My own soundings in Beirut reveal three possible consensus candidates, in no particular order: Riyadh Salame, who heads le Banqe Liban; Michel Sleiman, who heads the army; and former Foreign Minister Jean 'Ubayd. Salame would have sound credentials to deal with the difficult economic circumstances, Sleiman had earned credit for keeping the army from becoming embroiled in partisan battles while still performing credibly, and Jean 'Ubayd's main credential seems to be that he is linked to neither the pro-government or the opposition camp.

The Daily Star - Politics - Divided Lebanese leaders set sights on battle for presidency: "But Hizbullah's second in command, Sheikh Naim Qassem, addressing a rally in Haret Hreik, said his party would consider any president not elected by a majority of two thirds an 'impostor and a traitor to the Constitution' with no right to rule.

Addressing the parliamentary majority, Qassem said: 'If you elect him he will be your president; he will not be president of the country, only the president of your parliamentary majority.'"

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