Hariri sets deadline for Lebanese presidential election
The head of the ruling majority in the Lebanese parliament Saad Hariri pledged
Monday that his MPs would elect a president on May 13.
"We haven't received any guarantees, but we are in a path that leads to the election of a president on May 13. All March 14 MPs would go to parliament to elect a president," Hariri announced.
"We have a real chance to elect a president on May 13," Hariri said.
"As long as no one is against dialogue, no one should be against electing a president on May 13," he said, adding, Lebanon is "the only country in the world that does not have a president. This is a major crime committed against us and against the country."
"We support a country-constituency elections law and we support the formation of a national unity government as well as any other proposed settlements, but we cannot achieve all that without a president. We should focus on electing a president on May 13."
The election would be the 19th bid to vote in the deeply divided country.
According to a source close to the majority, the opposition and the majority is discussing a deal on a new government and a law organising next year's general election before electing a new head of state.
The source said the discussion is focusing on a national untity government which will have no majority or veto power for the opposition-led Hezbollah.
"It will be a neutral government where all parties will represented equally," he added.
Majority leaders say a new president should be elected first and then chair talks between the feuding factions.
The political crisis has paralysed much of government, left the presidency vacant since November 2007 and led to bouts of lethal street riotinge in a country still recovering from its 15-year civil war.
The Lebanese rivals have agreed army chief General Michel Suleiman should fill the presidency, vacant since the term of pro-Syrian president Emile Lahoud expired.
But Suleiman's election has been delayed due to the dispute over the composition of a cabinet to be formed after his election and a parliamentary election law.