Report: Assad calls on Lebanese allies to delay elections for Beirut leadership
The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad informed its allies in Lebanon the need to prevent any attempts to stage the presidential elections in the country, the Saudi Okaz newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper quoted sources close to the regime as saying that “carrying out the presidential elections in Lebanon should be linked to the run for presidency in the neighboring country.”
According to the sources, a high-ranking Syrian official informed the head of a Lebanese party, which was kept anonymous, the necessity to “prevent staging the presidential elections in Lebanon ahead of the Syria.”
Earlier this month, Assad voiced hope that the next Lebanese president would support the resistance axis.
“We are interested in... what the upcoming Lebanese President could offer the axis of the resistance, which is the basic criterion for us,” Assad said.
President Michel Suleiman's six-year tenure ends in May 2014, but the constitutional period to elect a new head of state begins on March 25, two months prior to the expiration of Suleiman’s mandate.
On Tuesday, Suleiman denied reports saying that Iran will agree to extend his term in return to Assad's term extension.
“The presidential elections will be staged on time despite what some sides assume,” the president noted.