Hizbullah blames US for blocking Lebanese election

Hizbullah on Sunday blamed US interference for the Lebanese parliament's inability to elect a president and added a new condition for choosing the next head of state: The leader must support the powerful Iranian-backed Shi'ite Muslim group's fight against Israel. Hizbullah's demand is bound to further complicate efforts to elect a new president to replace Emile Lahoud who stepped down midnight Friday, plunging the crisis-ridden country into a dangerous power vacuum after rival factions failed to agree on a successor. "We want a president who believes in national participation and in the right to defend one's land and protect its people," Hizbullah's deputy leader Sheik Naim Kassem said in a speech in south Beirut.