March 11, 2016 / 7:38 AM / in 2 years

Lebanon's speaker indicates presidency deal almost ready

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri heads a session of the national dialogue, aimed at discussing ways out of a political crisis at the parliament building in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, September 9, 2015. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The influential speaker of Lebanon’s parliament signaled on Friday that a deal to elect a president was almost ready, raising hopes that a presidential vacuum which has paralyzed the political system for nearly two years could soon be filled.

Lebanese newspaper An-nahar cited Speaker Nabih Berri saying in an interview that the presidency had “truly ripened” and it was time to “pick it”.

His comments were published after former Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri, who is backed by Saudi Arabia, said he was confident parliament would elect a president on March 23 or at the next session in April, according to LBC TV station.

Reporting by Lisa Barrington and Tom Perry; Editing by Catherine Evans

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