Hariri Says Lahoud Doesn't Mind 'Cohabitation'
Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri accused the current government of Salim Hoss of trying to fuel friction between himself and President Emile Lahoud
Sunday saying that Lahoud was not against “cohabitation.”
"There is no personal problem between me and President Lahoud and he knows that and this is what he says," said Hariri after casting his vote on the final phase of parliamentary elections which observers said could see Hariri return to office.
His remarks came after a bitter election campaign, in which the state media accused him of throwing money at voters in a bid to regain his post as Prime Minister which he held between 1992 and 1998.
Lahoud has been highly critical of "corruption" in Hariri's previous administrations, and Hariri had refused to head the first government under Lahoud when the latter came to the presidency in 1998 because of bitter disputes between them.
"In my opinion, the issue of (the impossibility of) cohabitation ... comes from the government and not from the president," Hariri told reporters, speaking for the first time about his ability to work with Lahoud.
Lahoud "has repeatedly said that he is at an equal distance from everybody. He also repeatedly says that he respects the institutions and the constitution," he added.
The constitution of Lebanon calls for the president to select the new Prime Minister after consulting with members of the freshly elected parliament.
Sunday's elections are the second and final stage of parliamentary elections to elect the 128-seat house, in which the voters in Beirut, the south and the east are casting their votes.
Hariri and his allies won an impressive victory in the first stage last week, when voters in the center and north of the country went to the polls -- BEIRUT (AFP)
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