by Jocelyne Zablit Tue Oct 16, 5:47 AM ET  BEIRUT (AFP) – With less than a week to go before Lebanon’s parliament convenes again to elect a president, all indicators are that the session is doomed to fail or will be cancelled for lack of consensus among the country’s feuding political factions. There is a lot of brinkmanship on both sides which will make it difficult to get the election as early as October 23," Oussama Safa, head of the Lebanese Centre for Policy Studies, told AFP" And with so much posturing going on, I think they will probably wait until the very last minute to elect a president, if a president is to be elected."

Nassib Lahoud, a candidate for the presidency also said he believes next week’s session would not take place, with opposing sides waiting until the 11th hour to strike a deal. "In one way or another we would like to give more chance for an agreement to be reached," he told AFP. "The more time and the more pressing the deadline, the more one has a chance to reach an agreement."

Several MPs who showed up on Tuesday for the first regular parliament session in a year admitted that they were not yet ready to pick a successor "The current situation does not justify the session even taking place next week as nothing indicates willingness to reach an agreement," said MP Hussein Hajj Hassan. "I think the session won’t even take place for lack of a quorum."The special session next Tuesday was called by parliament speaker Nabih Berri, aafter MPs on September 25 failed to reach agreement on a consensus candidate to replace President Lahoud.

Negotiations since then have been going on among the parties, with leading members of the ruling majority travelling to Washington and other Western capitals to seek support and opposition leaders meeting with various foreign envoys working to break the deadlock.

The foreign ministers of France, Italy and Spain are due in Beirut later this week to try and negotiate an end to the crisis, the worst since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war.

"There are presidential elections and we want to meet all the political forces to obtain national reconciliation and look for a solution to the crisis that continues to affect the country’s stability," Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said last week.

Fears are running high that the standoff over the presidency could lead to two rival governments, a grim reminder of the end