Lebanon Without a President, in State of Emergency

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Lebanon's capital, Beirut, is calm Saturday morning and shops are open for business as usual even as Lebanon's
people absorb having a republic without a president.

The pro-Syrian militant group Hezbollah and other opposition
groups have been blocking lawmakers from electing a new president
by boycotting ballot sessions. That left parliament without a
quorum and President Emile Lahoud without a successor when his term ran out Friday.

Parliament's anti-Syria majority led by Prime Minister Fuad
Saniora has been trying to put one of its own into the presidency.

Many Lebanese fear the void left by Lahoud's departure without a
successor could explode into violence between backers of Saniora
and the Hezbollah-led opposition.

In leaving, Lahoud handed the security reins to Lebanon's army
and declared a state of emergency.

The military has sought to remain neutral in the political
fighting and its commanders are refusing to comment on the
developments.


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