Lebanese Parliament amended Friday the constitution, allowing President Emile Lahud to extend term in office by three years.
The exceptional, and for one time only amendment came one day after the UN Security Council adopted a U.S.-France sponsored resolution, calling for elections to choose the Lebanese head of state.
96 of the 125 law makers voted for the amendment, securing more than the 2/3 majority needed to amend the constitution.
This is the second time in 10 years in which the Lebanese parliament amended the constitution to allow a serving president an extension;
The French Foreign Ministry issued a statement, describing the approved amendment as worrying and against the democratic traditions of Lebanon.
Lebanese law makers were angered by Ã¢â‚¬Å“the bold intervention in the countries internal issuesÃ¢â‚¬Â after the security council, against LebanonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s well, adopted a resolution calling foreign forces (Syrian) to leave Lebanon, the disbanding and dismantling of militias, and for running presidential elections.
Lebanese and Syrian officials undermined the significance of the Security Council resolution, which was adopted by a narrow majority and failed to mention Syria and Hezbollah in names.
Both referred to Security Council 125 resolution, saying that it took Israel 25 years to partially comply with the council call to withdraw from southern Lebanon, and that the withdrawal was forced by Lebanese resistance not Security Council resolutions.
Supporters of the amendment argued that the emergency situation in the region necessitated the amendment, referring to the continued Israeli occupation of Shiba farms and the continued Israeli shillings and air raids of Lebanese territories.
Opponents considered bringing an amendment to the constitution for the second time in 10 years as undermining the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s constitution, accusing that it was dictated by Syria.
The Security Council called UN General Secretary Coffi Annan to report back to the council progress made towards the implementation of the adopted resolution.
Lebanon and Syria apparently decided to strengthen their alliance and defy U.S. attempts to force Syrian troops out of Lebanon and force the disarming of Hezbollah.
President Lahoud is seen as the symbol of the Lebanese-Syrain alliance, therefore the overwhelming majority of Lebanese lawmakers seems to support the continuity of the strategic alliance with Syria .