Nation on Collision Course with Chaos

BEIRUT (CNN) -- Lebanon appeared Thursday to be on a collision course with chaos, as Emile Lahoud's presidential term is slated to end Friday with no heir apparent.

Parliament was scheduled to meet Friday to try for a fifth time to elect a president, but there were indications that the session would be canceled.

With the term of pro-Syrian Lahoud set to expire Friday at midnight (5 p.m. ET), pro- and anti-Syrian lawmakers had come to no agreement over a compromise candidate. The Syrian- and Iranian-backed opposition has suggested it might form a rival government.

Failure to settle on a candidate could lead to a vacuum of power -- or worse. The army and other security forces were on full alert as the nation braced itself for possible violence.


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