Lebanese media on Tuesday gave the Lebanese people a sigh of hope with what turned out to be an April Fool message indicating the political crisis was over and a new president elected. ( dpa )
Local television stations opened their evening bulletins by saying "infarajet" (That's it, it's over), quoting a leaflet distributed to the media indicating the standoff was resolved between the Western- backed government and the Hezbollah-led opposition backed by Syria and Iran.
"After the Arab summit, Arab League chief Amr Mussa arrived in Lebanon and met with the political parties," the leaflet said, referring to the weekend Arab League summit in Damascus. "Lawmakers then immediately headed to parliament and elected a president."
But it quickly transpired that the leaflet was an April Fool joke.
"We do not need such jokes at this time, we need a president," said Leila Idriss, a resident of Beirut, summing up how the joke had fallen flat in the capital.
"Our Leaders should put aside their differences and start thinking in the interest of the country," she said.
The fake leaflet indicated that rival politicians had embraced each other after the election and held a cocktail party to celebrate the successful election.
Youmna Fawaz, from the group Khalass (Enough) which distributed the leaflet, said its aim was to show how the Lebanese would like to see their country.
"This is what all the Lebanese wish - to have a president, a new government, reconciliation and peace," Fawaz said.
The country has been without a president since November, when pro- Syrian Emile Lahoud stepped down at the end of his mandate in November 2007.
Seventeen attempts to elect a successor have failed and a new session of parliament is now scheduled for April 22. Lebanese presidents are elected by MPs rather than by popular vote.