Lebanon parliament delays polls over Syria crisis

Lebanon parliament delays polls over Syria crisis
Sat Jun 1, 2013 09:46:01

Lebanon's parliament has voted to postpone elections due in June because of security concerns over the conflict in Syria, officials say.

Concerns have raised higher in Syria’s neighboring countries following a European Union decision to free shipments of arms to anti-government militants and terrorist groups in Syria, increasing risk of wider tensions in the whole region.

"Security and political tensions prevent the holding of an election campaign," AFP reported the motion as saying.

Supporters of the move to extend parliament's normal four-year term say it might help ease tensions.

Politicians have also been deeply divided over proposals to change the country's current first-past-the-post style system, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam has not yet been able to form a government after two months of talks.

He was expected to resume efforts to build a cabinet after Friday's extension of parliament's mandate, local media said.

The European Union agreed to lift its embargo against arming insurgents in Syria in a bid to prop up militants in the face of the Syrian army's advances.

Western countries have already been supplying insurgents with what they call “non-lethal” equipment but the new decision marks a turning point in EU's support of the militants.

Extremist groups have swelled the ranks of insurgents in Syria and EU’s decision to arm them is expected to lead to further insecurity which it may also come to haunt the West on their own doorsteps.

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