Lahud – a close ally of Syria – had earlier on Tuesday made it clear he was willing to stand for another term, despite stiff opposition to changing the constitution which would be need to allow him to do so.

 

"If a parliamentary majority wishes to bestow this mission upon me again, then I am ready to accept," Lahud said in Damascus.

But Adam Ereli, deputy US State Department spokesman said his country strongly supports a free and fair electoral process in Lebanon, but in accordance with the already established Lebanese constitution.

"That constitution provides for a new president every six years, selected by parliament,” said Ereli. “The election of a president is a decision for the Lebanese people alone to make, consistent with their established constitution".

 

"It is our view that no outside country should interfere in the process, but as a matter of policy the United States does not take a position on individual candidates…the decision of who is the president of Lebanon is a decision for the Lebanese people – not for the Syrians, not for the Americans, not for anybody else."

A growing number of Lebanese religious and political figures are opposed to Lahud standing for re-election because, under the constitution as it stands, a president is not allowed to stand for a second successive term.