Suleiman Rejects Attempts to Extend his Term: I Will Return Home on May 25

President Michel Suleiman reiterated on Sunday his complete rejection to any attempt to extend his term, describing his relations with all parties, including Hizbullah, as normal.

“Extending the term of any official is not democratic despite the extension of the current parliament's term,” Suleiman said after holding a behind-closed door meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi at Bkirki ahead of the Easter mass.

The president considered that he and Hizbullah have different points of view.

“The party took inappropriate stances and I said remarks that Hizbullah officials didn't like,” Suleiman pointed out.

The president stressed that his term ends on May 24 and he will return to his home the next day.

Suleiman’s tenure ends in May 2014, but the constitutional period to elect a new head of state began on March 25, two months prior to the expiration of the president's mandate.

Suleiman congratulated the Lebanese on the occasion of Easter, praising stability in Lebanon despite the shaky situation in the region.

He expressed hope that the economic situation in the country would improve.

Suleiman also urged the political arch-foes to unify stances over the upcoming presidential elections ahead of the constitutional deadline, saying: “the important matter is the stances taken by the upcoming president and not if he was consensual or affiliated in a certain party.

“The president should preserve the constitution and the country's sovereignty and doesn't represent anyone,” the president added.

Asked about the presidential program launched by Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, Suleiman hailed it.

However, he regretted that “he can't grant him his vote as the president's vote doesn't count.”

“Geagea's presidential program is national, sovereign and I hope that it would be implemented.”

On Wednesday, Geagea announced a presidential program that focused on “restoring the authority of the state against the proliferation of weapons during a time of regional unrest.”

He is the sole politician to have officially announced his candidacy for the polls, which are first scheduled to be held on April 23.

The election is not expected to be an easy process amid a lack of agreement on a consensual candidate.

- H. K.

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