Lebanese MPs fail to pick new president in first vote

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 23, 2014 5:52 AM

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanese parliamentarians failed to elect a new president in a first round of voting on Wednesday, with leading candidate Samir Geagea falling well short of the required two-thirds majority.

Parliament must choose a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose six-year term ends in late May. But deep political divisions within the country and over the war in neighboring Syria have hampered efforts to agree on a new president, who must be a Maronite Christian.

Geagea's failure to win sufficient votes had been widely expected and is likely to open up the race to other candidates in a process which politicians have warned could drag on for months.

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(Reporting by Dominic Evans; Editing by Hugh Lawson)