Jumblatt also urged various opposition factions on Sunday to draw up a political programme for Lebanon after a May general election.

"I call on the opposition to meet and come up with a programme, because it's not enough that we reach the elections and vote," he said, noting that the opposition needed to agree an economic plan and a common stand on Iraq and the Palestinian issue.

"We should have a clear and ambitious answer to what's next. At the end of the day, we will win the elections."

Prime Minister Umar Karami is expected to unveil a long-awaited new government on Monday to lead the country into the election, but his insistence on a new law organising the poll makes a delay almost inevitable.

Draft law

PM Karami hopes to announce a
new government on Monday

"God willing we will announce the government on Monday as we promised," Karami said on Saturday.

He said the new government's first task was to draw up a draft law organising elections which should see Lebanon divided into at least five large constituencies.

Work on the draft is expected to take weeks, forcing a delay in the polls, political sources say.

Lebanon has been without a government since anti-Syrian popular protests forced Karami to resign along with his government on 28 February.

The delay in forming the government is seen by the opposition as an attempt to postpone the elections, due before the term of the mainly pro-Syrian parliament expires by 31 May.