Lebanon’s speaker of parliament Nabih Berri adjourned the second round of presidential elections on 30 April.

The session failed to meet a quorum after more than one-third of its members boycotted the process. A third round is scheduled for 7 May.  

The parliament is divided over the election of Samir Geagea, who heads the Lebanese Forces. As one of the main leaders during the 15-year civil war, which ended in 1990, his candidacy has been met with strong opposition by several political groups as he is accused of having committed war crimes. The only other officially declared candidate was the Progressive Socialist Party’s Henri Helou.

Amine Gemayel, head of the Kataeb, on 30 April stated on national television that while his party supports Geagea’s candidacy, it may consider putting forward alternative candidates if needed. That could see Gemayel running for the position himself.

Michel Aoun, leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, could form another strong contender for the seat, though it remains unclear if he will choose to run.

Both Aoun and Gemayel have also played key roles in Lebanon’s civil war, which could continue leading to tensions throughout the election process.

A presidential election is planned for 25 May, though a lack of consensus between Lebanon’s major parties could lead to that being pushed further away.

The long process leading up to the formation of the country’s 24-member cabinet in February was an attestation of how little cohesion there is among Lebanon’s political groups.

Each major faction supports a different side of the Syrian war – while 8 March’s Hezbollah has sent fighters to support the Syrian regime, 14 March is aligned with the Syrian opposition, with some groups providing aid to rebels.

Lebanon’s top political positions are divided among its largest religious sects. According to the Taif Agreement, which was ratified in 1989 and subsequently led to the end of the civil war, the president of the republic needs to be Christian, while the prime minister should be Sunni and the post of speaker of parliament is reserved for someone who is Shia.