Hariri's son to run in Lebanon elections

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The Independent Online

The son of Rafik Hariri, Lebanon's assassinated former prime minister, said yesterday he will run in general elections scheduled to take place by the end of May.

In an interview with CNN, Saadeddine Hariri also said he had "full confidence" in the UN investigation into the assassination of his father on 14 February. The massive bomb in Beirut plunged Lebanon into political turmoil, forcing out the pro-Syrian government and heightening tension between Damascus' allies and the anti-Syrian opposition.

"I do intend to run," Mr Hariri replied in answer to a question about parliamentary elections set to be held by 29 May. "I do intend to achieve my father's cause."

Mr Hariri's family had announced on Wednesday that Saadeddine, the second-eldest son, would assume the political mantle left by his father. The statement, which did not mention whether he would run for elections, put an end to speculation on whether any of Rafik Hariri's sons would remain in politics.

"My political agenda is to continue my father's legacy. He wanted a free and sovereign Lebanon," he said. He called for international observers to monitor the parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, a senior military officer said yesterday that Syria would withdraw its remaining soldiers today, ending its 29-year military presence in Lebanon.