The Interior Minister, Sami al-Khatib, dismissed a request that counting be suspended in the Bekaa Valley's Baalbek district where Mr Husseini headed a list of 10 pro-Syrian candidates. The Christian Voice of Lebanon radio station said the speaker's decision was a 'political bomb' that would further embarrass the Syrian-backed government after many Lebanese Christians boycotted the polls.
The north and the east of the country voted on Sunday and polling in Beirut and Mount Lebanon's Christian heartland is scheduled next Sunday. Pro-Syrian candidates led in most northern and eastern areas. Initial figures in Baalbek, a Hizbollah stronghold, showed fundamentalist candidates well ahead.