Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced in a late Thursday night interview that he would run in the next parliamentary elections and stressed that the polls must take place on time.
"It is natural that I run for elections since I am involved in public affairs,” Mikati said in response to a question.
His comments were made during an interview with Al-Arabiya satellie channel Thursday evening.
Mikati renewed a call for dialogue to discuss an electoral law before a new government is formed to oversee the elections, which is due in mid-2013.
“A Dialogue table [session] must be held with the participation of all concerned parties to agree on a parliamentary elections’ law,” Mikati said.
“Then a new government that will include people not running for the elections will be established to oversee the elections.”
“Whoever is the prime minister in the elections period should work on holding the polls on time – by the end of June – because this is a constitutional deadline," Mikati said.
I’m with the formation of a new government but I won’t leave the country in a vacuum
He dismissed repeated calls for his immediate resignation, insisting that the government “provides relative stability in the country and without it we would have witnessed chaos and it would have been difficult to handle issues, particularly security in Tripoli and Sidon and the southern suburbs."
“I’m with the formation of a new government but I won’t leave the country in a vacuum. This matter is out of the question,” he added.
Tripoli, Lebanon’s second largest city, has seen recurrent deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad.
At least 17 people were killed and over 80 wounded in the latest bout of hostilities in Tripoli last week.
Mikati acknowledged that a “large part” of the Tripoli unrest was the consequence of the Syria uprising, pointing to an increase in the flow of weapons into the northern city.
However, the prime minister stressed that the government was exerting efforts to prevent another outbreak of violence in Tripoli.
In a related issue, Mikati said Lebanon was facing difficulty trying to identify Salafist fighters killed by the Syrian army in the border town of Tal Kalakh while on their way to fight alongside Syrian rebels.
“We have received three bodies. But there is a problem trying to identify the remaining [bodies]. We will conduct DNA tests.”
Regarding the nine Lebanese hostages held by Syrian rebels since May, Mikati said he “hopes to hear good news soon.”
Turning to the much-talked about assassination list of Lebanese figures, Mikati said the issue was addressed during a security meeting Thursday with Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.
Charbel “informed us that a Future Movement official handed him a list of personalities who had received threats [against their lives] and called for their protection,” Mikati said.
“A number of measures have been taken and they [targeted officials] have to be cautious,” he said.