The United Nations Security Council Wednesday urged Lebanon to pick a president to take office after more than a five-month delay. The Lebanese parliament has failed 16 times to replace Michael Suleiman, whose term ended May 25. The council asked Lebanese politicians to show "urgency and flexibility" in choosing a president, according to a statement released by the council. The presidential position in Lebanon is the country's top Christian-held position.
The statement comes after Lebanese lawmakers voted last week to skip scheduled presidential elections, claiming the country's security situation is too fragile given the violence occurring in Syria and on its border.
Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam suggested this week that the delay in elections was because of the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the p5+1. “Any settlement over the Iranian nuclear program will pave the way to solving Lebanon’s political deadlock that left the country without a president," Ya Libnan quoted Salam as saying.
The Daily Star, a Lebanese publication, reported this week that analysts in the country think that the presidential deadlock "depends largely on a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran." The publication reported that an unnamed U.N. official was in Saudi Arabia and Iran recently to try and achieve a breakthrough in the presidential deadlock, but did not succeed.
Other analysts in Lebanon have said that the sectarian divisions in the country are to blame for the election delay. Hilal Khashan, a political scientist in Beirut, told the Daily Start that the vote would only move forward if "the rival factions ... continue to talk about the election of a new president."