The steering committee of the Lebanese parliament has decided that a new president, to succeed Suleiman Franjieh, will be elected at a special sitting of parliament on Saturday (1 May).
GV PAN Crossing point between two areas as troops watch (2 shots)
MV Troops watching cars pass through
GV PAN Temporary parliament building
MV Delegates arriving, watched by troops (4 shots)
MV Parliamentary speaker Kamel El Assaad arrives, surrounded by guards
CU Assaad in meeting, at conference table with other delegates (3 shots)
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Background: The steering committee of the Lebanese parliament has decided that a new president, to succeed Suleiman Franjieh, will be elected at a special sitting of parliament on Saturday (1 May).
The committee, comprising seven men, met on Tuesday (27 April), four days after Mr. Franjieh, a staunch rightist, signed a decree allowing for his early replacement -- a key demand of the country's left-wing forces.
His refusal to bow to left-wing demands for his resignation last March caused the escalation of fighting which finally gave military superiority to the left.
As the committee met, isolated sniper fire continued in several parts of Beirut, although Lebanon has had three successive days of relative peace since the president's signature.
But left and right-wing leaders have joined in objecting to the decision to elect the new head of state on Saturday. They want it postponed because of the importance of the selection.
It is planned to hold Saturday's meeting in the temporary parliament building near the "green line" crossing-point between Moslem and Christian sectors of Beirut. The official parliament building was damaged and looted last month.