by Naharnet Newsdesk
President Michel Aoun began the much-delayed consultations with parliamentary blocs to name a new prime minister and the talks will extend into late Thursday afternoon, the National News Agency reported.
The first to arrive at Baabda Palace was caretaker PM Saad Hariri who refrained from making any political statement to reporters on his candidate for the prime minister post. He only looked at them and smilingly wished them “happy holidays and good luck.”
Ex-PMs Najib Miqati and Tamam Salam said their blocs won’t nominate the new PM.
“In light of the over two-months political dispute over parliamentary consultations and the drastic economic conditions in Lebanon as a result of mismanagement, I find myself today obliged not to name anyone for the premiership post,” said Salam.
For his part, deputy Speaker MP Elie Ferzli Ferzli said: “I would have preferred to name Hariri for the post, but due to the current difficult circumstances I named Hassan Diab as the next PM.”
Diab, an AUB professor, has emerged on Wednesday as the favorite to be nominated as the next prime minister.
Hariri’s al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc also did not name anyone for the PM post.
“As you are all aware we have called for the formation of a technocrat government, and our bloc will name no one for the post,” said MP Samir al-Jisr speaking on behalf of the bloc.
For its part, Hizbullah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc named Hassan Diab for PM.
The National Coalition bloc led by MP Farid al-Khazen named Hassan Diab for PM.
“As we have all seen that Hariri decided not to stay as PM, he also did not name anyone for PM. Therefore our bloc has seen it necessary to take action in light of the difficult circumstances and have decided to name a clean and honorable figure, AUB professor Hassan Diab,” announced Khazen after meeting Aoun.
The Democratic Gathering bloc of ex-MP Walid Jumblat named Nawaf Salam for PM.
“We surely hope the government is formed as soon as possible to address the current crisis,” said Taymour Walid Jumblat in remarks after meeting Aoun.
NNA said at the end of consultations, Aoun consults the Speaker on the outcome of talks with lawmakers and would then inform the candidate who won the majority of votes in order to designate him for the post.
Outgoing PM Saad Hariri on Wednesday said he would not seek to stay on as prime minister, ahead of much-delayed consultations to give the protest-wracked country a new government.
The consultations for a new cabinet have been postponed twice already and it remains to be seen whether they will indeed take place on Thursday and whether Hariri’s chances of a third mandate as prime minister are really over.