Lebanon’s prime minister announced Monday that he would not seek re-election in parliamentary polls scheduled for May 15.

“I believe in the inevitability of change and the need to make room for the new generation to have its say through the upcoming parliamentary elections. I announce my decision to refrain from running,” Najib Mikati said in a televised address.

Mikati called on all Lebanese people to go to the polls to ensure high participation in the elections.

His decision follows an announcement by former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in January that he had “suspended” his participation in Lebanese politics.

In a televised press conference, the three-time prime minister said he will not run in the coming parliamentary elections and that his political party, the Future Movement, would not field any candidates.

Hariri, a leading Sunni figure, entered politics after the 2005 assassination of his father, Rafik al-Hariri.

His withdrawal comes amid a crippling economic crisis, deep poverty and political inertia over finding solutions to the country’s problems.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz

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