BEIRUT: Michel Sleiman is adamant he should leave the presidency, but says he will continue to work in politics to pass on his expertise to the new head of state who is expected to be elected in two months.
“I will continue to work in politics, but I won’t run in parliamentary elections,” Sleiman said in remarks published Tuesday.
“I will play a role at the national level by using my expertise and relationships to help the new president,” Sleiman told the local daily Al-Mustaqbal. “I can help him on many issues.”
The President remained unwavering in his stance on the extension of his mandate.
“Extending my mandate [as president] is out of the question,” he said on the plane that took him Monday to Kuwait to attend a two-day Arab summit.
Besides, Sleiman concedes, the extension is not possible under the current internal and external circumstances. He did not elaborate.
Sleiman said he has not heard about an Iranian-supported proposal that calls for the extension of his term in return for the extension of that of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“In any case, Hezbollah will not approve the extension. How can Hezbollah agree to the extension after the positions taken recently? This is impossible.”
Lebanon entered Tuesday a two-month constitutional period to elect a new head of state.