French FM acknowledges obstacles to consensus on new Lebanese president

France's foreign minister, who is back in Lebanon trying to mediate between rival factions, acknowledged on Monday that there are "obstacles" to a consensus between the government and the opposition on the country's next president. As the deadline for the critical vote to pick President Emile Lahoud's successor approaches, an agreement is badly needed if Lebanon is to emerge from a political deadlock threatening to plunge it further into crisis. Parliament is to convene Wednesday to elect a new president but it seemed unlikely the assembly would muster the necessary two-thirds quorum to convene and begin voting by then. Lahoud's last full day in office is Friday.