Lebanon failed to elect a new president on Thursday because too few deputies went to parliament to vote.

Christian members of parliament appeared to have heeded the call by the powerful Christian Lebanese Forces to boycott the session to prevent pro-Syrian candidate Suleiman Franjieh from being elected."This is a victory for democracy and a victory for the idea of a president accepted by all, a compromise president instead of a president of challenge," LF deputy chief Karim Pakradouni told Reuters.

Local television reported that only 39 members appeared for the meeting out of the 51 needed to form a quorum.

Defence Minister Adel Osseiran, asked by reporters as he left the heavily defended building when the assembly might reconvene, said: "God knows."