Lebanon leader wants polls on time

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati has expressed his determination to hold his country's elections on schedule and to push for the sacking of the country's security chiefs.

    Lebanese Premier Najib Miqati calls himself 'middle-of-the-road'

    In an exclusive phone interview with Aljazeera from Beirut on Wednesday, Miqati said:

    "I will present my views to the cabinet and convince all my ministers to carry out the sacking of the security chiefs and hold elections on time."

     

    Elections should be held on time for a new parliament to take over when the term of the current one ends on 31 May.

     

    The opposition has accused the pro-Syrian government of attempting to delay elections to hold on to power.

     

    Lebanon's opposition also has urged the country's Syrian-backed security chiefs to resign to make way for an international inquiry into the killing of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri.

     

    Miqati denied opposition MPs
    criticised his nomination

    No setback

     

    Though a family friend of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, Miqati is viewed as less provocative than other pro-Syrian ministers.

     

    Miqati said his nomination did not signal a setback for the opposition.

     

    "Lebanon is a country of moderation and balance. We need both the opposition and the pro-government parties as both are important for the running of the country," he said.

     

     

    Miqati denied there was criticism of his nomination as prime minister from opposition members. 

    "I have heard some opposition members regretting their non-participation in the government, but I have not heard that selecting me was a mistake," he said.

     

    "I will present my views to the Cabinet and convince all my ministers to carry out the sacking of the security chiefs and hold elections on time"

    Najib Miqati,
    Lebanese Prime Minister

    Middle of the road

     

    Miqati said he was proud of being a "middle-of-the-road" politician.

     

    "I don't side either with the pro-government parties or the opposition. I support Lebanon," he said.

     

     

    "Both pro-government parties and the opposition have made mistakes that should be avoided in future."

     

    Miqati said ministers in government should be given credit or criticised for their stances and not for their group loyalties.

     

    "I do not approve of the manner in which some ministers are termed opposition supporters while others are called loyalists. All of us support our homeland, and I refuse to recognise any division," he said.

     

    Miqati said after his meeting with ministers on Wednesday that he hoped there was a "genuine nationalism" that would serve the country.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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