BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s pro-Syrian prime minister designate said on Wednesday he was stepping down after failing to form a new government to lead the country to general elections scheduled in May.  Omar Karami’s resignation made timely elections more unlikely and deepened the political crisis triggered by the February assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. “We have once again reached a dead end,” Karami told reporters. “That is why I have invited you today to present my resignation.” But Karami said there was still enough time to hold the elections before the current parliament’s term expires on May 31. The constitution requires the government to call elections at least a month before the vote.

Lebanon has been without a government since Karami stepped down on Feb. 28 in the face of popular Lebanese protests over Hariri’s killing, which many Lebanese blamed on Syria.

Karami was reappointed by parliament days later to form a new cabinet but decided to step down again, after repeatedly failing to convince both anti-Syrian opposition members and pro-Syrian allies to join.

Lebanon’s anti-Syrian opposition has accused Karami of procrastinating in forming a new government to put off elections in which they expect to win a majority in the house now dominated by allies of Damascus.