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Former Lebanese warlord, current head of Christian group announces his candidacy for president

A former Lebanese warlord who now leads a Christian right-wing party has announced he will run for president in the tiny Arab country's elections later this spring.

Samir Geagea, a staunch critic of the militant Shiite Hezbollah group, is the first politician to announce his candidacy for the vote, expected to take place before the end of May when the six-year term of President Michel Suleiman ends.

Geagea is known as an intensely anti-Syrian politician.

He made the announcement on Friday. His Lebanese Forces party later confirmed its executive board "unanimously agreed" to nominate Geagea.

According to Lebanon's power-sharing system, the president must be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni Muslim and the parliament speaker a Shiite Muslim.

Each faith makes up about a third of Lebanon's population.